After the disappointment of Tuesday’s navigational error, 2016 champion Toby Price attacked from the off and clinched a first stage win of the race.
The Australian was leading as early as 48km into the stage and held off Kevin Benavides and teammate Antoine Meo for the victory. Matthias Walkner still holds a commanding overall lead while rival Joan Barreda, who was second in the GC, retired from the race after 100km.
Price said: “It wasn’t the result we wanted yesterday and today we needed to claw back a bit of time, which we have done. There is still a long way to go.”
After losing almost an hour to the leader yesterday, Ricky Brabec bounced back with an excellent finish. He was seven minutes behind Price for fourth today. He moved up one place in the overall classification, although it was at the expense of his teammate Joan Barreda, who retired today. Yesterday, on the route of the tenth stage from Salta – Belén stage, Barreda suffered concussion, and today he abandoned after an additional crash. That puts Brabec in sixth. “Today we started a new marathon stage, the second of this Dakar. I am much happier than when I finished yesterday, which had been a nightmare to try to find that cursed waypoint. I feel fine; the bike is running really well too. We will continue fighting to finish this Dakar as best we can. I hope Joan gets well and improves soon.”
Andrew Short had another good stage,finishing in 13th and moving into 17th overall. “One more exhausting rally stage is in the books and we’re getting closer to the finish. Tonight we’ll have to prepare our bikes by ourselves to get them ready for stage 12 tomorrow. Everything is going well for me so far, I keep learning and improving. This event is a huge experience for me and my mind now is focused on crossing its finish line on Saturday. We’ve all worked really hard this last couple of weeks, and it will be like seeing all the hard work pay off when we reach Córdoba. There are three more stages to go and I’ll do my best to stay focused on my goals.”
Mark Samuels finished one spot behind Short and moved up to 22nd overall. Shane Esposito was 23rd and now holds 26th. Bill Conger was 68th and is now in 67th overall.
2018 Dakar Rally – Stage 11 Provisional Classification
1. Toby Price (KTM) 04:01:33
2. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 04:03:11
3. Antoine Meo (KTM) 04:08:04
4. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 04:09:07
5. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 04:12:34
6. Gerard Farres (KTM) 04:14:05
13. Andrew Short (Husqvarna) 04:37:55
2018 Dakar Rally – Provisional Overall Standings After Stage 11
1. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 36:33:37
2. Kevin Benvides (Honda) 37:05:37
3. Toby Price (KTM) 37:12:54
4. Gerard Farres (KTM) 37:22:54
5. Antoine Meo (KTM) 37:32:42
6. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 37:51:47