Australian overcomes the odds to earn second Dakar Rally crown.
Toby Price says he thought he would’ve been lucky to make it halfway through the 2019 Dakar Rally after entering with a broken scaphoid, let alone win the gruelling event for the second time in his career.
It was a remarkable and heroic effort from the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing ace, who pushed through each and every stage despite the adversity, consistently positioning himself in contention to win at the conclusion of 10 long and demanding stages.
A three-way battle ensued on the final day of racing, with Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) tipped to overcome Price as he sat in second before a brutal fall crushed his chances victory, allowing the now two-time Dakar winner to ride somewhat safely to the chequered flag.
“It feels amazing to stand here knowing I have won the Dakar, I don’t think it has really sunk in yet,” Price explained. “I thought at the beginning of the event I would be lucky to even make the rest day. My Red Bull KTM bike has been amazing, I want to say a big thank you to my mechanic for that.
“The whole crew here do an amazing job – without them I would be no one. The team put in so much work on the lead up to the event and when we get here it’s down to me out there on the track so it feels amazing to be able to reward them all with this result and keep KTM’s winning streak going.
“It was so tight going into the stage this morning, both Pablo and I knew we would have to push right from the start. Unfortunately for him, he went too hard off a dune but he really deserves a win too – everyone that starts this race deserves a win. The plan now is to go home and relax for a little while, I know I need to have my wrist seen to, so I’ll get that sorted and then it won’t be long before we start it all over again.”
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team manager Jordi Viladoms commented: “It’s been an amazing race with many ups and downs, often stressful, but I am extremely proud of the whole team’s performance. The rally has been far tougher than expected. Despite being shorter than usual it has included days with tricky strategy, navigation and the level of riding has been so close.
“To win our 18th consecutive Dakar is incredible and a lot of it is thanks to Toby, he won the race even with a lot of pain in his wrist. Personally, I would like to thank KTM for their ongoing support of this rally programme, but all of this is only possible because of how the team works together.”
Last year’s Matthias Walkner wound up second ahead of Sam Sunderland, making it a Red Bull KTM Factory Racing lockout in the top three. Quintanilla recovered from his incident, salvaging 22nd position in the stage for a fourth overall ranking.