Race for the crown tightens on day nine of the rally.
Australian Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) has maintained his advantage at the top of the 2019 Dakar Rally standings on the penultimate day of racing, as top three newcomer Michael Metge (Sherco TVS Rally Factory) won the stage.
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.
Metge, starting in the second wave of riders off the line, lodged a time of 3h46m38s to edge out yet another top three newcomer Daniel Jager (MEC HRC), while Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) wound up in third.
Defending champion Matthias Walkner (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was fourth followed by Price, who leads Quintanilla in the classification by 1m2s, as the top five is rounded out by Walkner, Andrew Short (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) and Xavier de Soultrait (Yamalube Yamaha Rally).
Aussie Dakar rookie Ben Young (KTM) is now ranked 53rd, advancing two positions after finishing up 62nd in the stage, while compatriot James Ferguson (KTM) was able to re-enter the event for the second time, winding up 74th for a 68th ranking. Rodney Faggotter (Yamalube Yamaha Rally) was ruled out of the competition earlier in the event.
Stage 10, the final of the 2019 Dakar Rally will see competitors return to the host city of Lima, Peru. Covering a total of 359 kilometres, riders will face a short and intense 112-kilometre timed special.