Australia’s defending champion Toby Price has claimed an impressive victory on stage five of the Dakar Rally, climbing two places to second in the overall bike class rankings in Saudi Arabia.
Price became this year’s first double stage winner on Thursday but American Honda rider Ricky Brabec extended his overall lead to nine minutes over the NSW motorcyclist after finishing fourth.
The 32-year-old was fastest through the last four checkpoints having taken the lead at the first early in the 564-km stage.
“It’s been a good day. We pushed hard at the start, made some good ways and then I caught up with the Honda boys. Ricky and them were in front, but it’s been a good stage,” said Price.
“It’s actually the first time I’ve ridden with a whole big group, so it was quite enjoyable but at the end of the day they are competitive so we need to stay in front of them. We’re happy with the day and we’ll see how day six goes now.”
Stage 5 – 1st 🏁
Outright Standings – 2nd, 0:09:06 from the leader.
It’s been a good stage, it’s actually the first time I’ve ridden with a big group, so it was quite enjoyable, but at the end of the day, we are competitive and need to stay in front of them! pic.twitter.com/UP0B27v3bP
— Toby Price (@tobyprice87) January 9, 2020
Price’s KTM teammate, Britain’s 2017 winner Sam Sunderland, crashed out of the stage.
The Dubai-based 30-year-old injured his back and left shoulder in the fall after 187km of the 564km stage from Al Ula to Ha’il, organisers said.
“Winner of the 2017 Dakar Sam Sunderland has had to quit the race on day 5 of #Dakar2020 after a crash. He didn’t lose consciousness and was quickly attended to by the medical staff of the race,” they posted on social media.
Sunderland had led the rally, being held in the Middle East for the first time after a decade in South America, after the second stage and was fastest on Wednesday before incurring a five minute penalty for speeding in a neutralised section.
Argentina’s Kevin Benavides has dropped back third, to 11 minutes behind Price.