Stage nine of the rally saw another motocross style mass-start with riders setting off in waves of 10, determined by their finishing positions from the previous day’s stage. Heading into the dunes for the 313-kilometre timed special, the first group of riders stuck together for the majority of the stage. Although it was in fact two riders from the second group who took the honors today, the top riders in the overall crossed the line just seconds apart.  By catching the lead group, Michael Metge of the Sherco TVS team was the stage winner, giving that team its first victory.  The top American is now Andrew Short after yesterday’s departure of Ricky Brabec. Short has been turning in one solid performance after another and now finds himself in fourth overall.

With no real advantage gained on today’s stage, Toby Price successfully defended his lead in the rally’s overall standings. Just over one-minute separates Price and nearest competitor Pablo Quintanilla and the two rivals now head into tomorrow’s short final stage where they are expected to battle for the overall win of the rally.

Michael Metge gave the Sherco TVS team a victory on stage 9.

Michael Metge: “I made some mistakes at first. I would lose time, then I would come back then lose time again. At the end, I caught up to the first riders and I knew I was in first. Then I was stressed, and that made it difficult to finish the stage. I’m so happy for the team. They worked hard and the bike is very good. They believed in me and I’m happy to get the victory for them and my family.”

Matthias Walkner and Toby Price. Photo, Marcin Kin.

Toby Price:

“I got through stage nine today where we had the mass-start. There was no chance to make up any time or lose time really, I just had to stick with the group. Tomorrow is only a 100-kilometre stage, but I think it’s going to feel more like 300. The boys are really going to up their pace and all I can do is try my best once more and try to stay with them. If I can get through tomorrow and finish on the podium, I’ll be more than happy.”

Andrew Short:

“There’s been a lot of chaos over the last few days. My plan from the beginning of this race was to just focus on my performance and try to be as smooth and consistent as possible. I’m happy to see my strategy is paying off. This fourth place in the overall is simply amazing. The moto start today was great fun for me. After the start, the terrain became a bit tricky and dangerous at some parts. There was a lot of dust and you really had to pay attention on the road book. That was stressful and there was this one waypoint at the end that was super tricky. The fatigue is setting in right now, but nevertheless I am really looking forward to reaching the finish line in Lima tomorrow.”

Pablo Quintanilla:

“I’m in a great spot right now to battle for the win and I’m really happy about that. Securing a podium result would be great for me and the team, but honestly my eyes are set on getting the win here in Peru. Today’s stage worked quite well for me. The mass start made it all more interesting. There were some tricky waypoints to make, but overall I felt good and managed to get a good time. Tomorrow I’m determined to give it all for the win. There’s just one minute separating me and Toby [Price] and the day will be long. No matter what happens tomorrow I am very satisfied with my performance at this Dakar. I gave 100% on each day and that’s what matters the most for me.”

2019 Dakar Rally – Stage 9 Provisional Classification

1. Michael Metge (Sherco) 03:46:38
2. Daniel Nosiglia (Honda) 03:48:38
3. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 03:50:06
4. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 03:50:07
5. Toby Price (KTM) 03:50:07
6. Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 03:50:08
7. Andrew Short (Husqvarna) 03:50:41

2019 Dakar Rally – Provisional Overall Standings After Stage 9

1. Toby Price (KTM) 32:43:15
2. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 32:44:17
3. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 32:49:50
4. Andrew Short (Husqvarna) 33:23:16
5. Xavier de Soultrait (Yamaha) 33:30:59
6. Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 33:49:00

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