Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Kevin Benavides has finished third on the fast and technical stage two of the Dakar Rally. Teammates Toby Price and Matthias Walkner also delivered strong results, finishing fifth and 14th respectively. Tech3 KTM Factory Racing’s Danilo Petrucci’s day came to a premature end when a technical issue forced him to withdraw from the stage.
Totaling 570 kilometers, day two of the Dakar challenged competitors with a series of tricky-to-navigate fast tracks and open dunes. Navigation, although not as testing as during the event’s opening stage, still caught out many as they made their way from Ha’il to Al Artawiya.
Completing stage one in 14th place, defending Dakar Champion Kevin Benavides made the very best use of his starting position to make up time on his rivals. With his KTM 450 RALLY performing perfectly beneath him, Benavides was able to work his way up the rankings as the day progressed, moving into the top three by the halfway point. From there, the experienced Argentinian maintained a strong pace to the finish, ultimately claiming third, just under six minutes down on the stage winner.
Kevin Benavides: “Today was a good day, especially after such a tough day yesterday. I started near the back and was able to push really hard. The special today was really fast in places, but also quite complicated – you had to know where to attack and where to focus on your navigation. It’s only day two and everything can happen at the Dakar – there are always ups and downs. I’m looking forward to the next few days.”
Also one of the riders to lose time on the event’s first full stage, Toby Price’s second day at the 2022 Dakar thankfully went very much the same way as teammate Benavides’, with the Aussie building his pace throughout the day and fighting his way up the order. Completing the stage as fifth fastest, earning himself a strong start position for day three, Toby will aim to cut his deficit to the leaders once again tomorrow.
Toby Price: “Today went a lot better than yesterday, and I was able to claw back a little time on the leaders. It’s always tough when you lose a big chunk of time early on, but it’s still very early days and there’s a lot of racing left. The bike is really good – I’m feeling really comfortable – so let’s continue tomorrow and see what happens.”
Despite being the third rider to enter the timed special on stage two, Matthias Walkner was able to maintain a strong pace while delivering accurate navigation on the fast stage, completing the day in 14th. The result means that the 2021 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion now sits in a solid fourth place overall, with an advantageous start position to look forward to on Tuesday’s stage three.
Matthias Walkner: “I had a good stage today, I started third so that was always going to be quite tough. After the refueling, the guys in front made a mistake, I stayed on the wrong line too for a little while, but then realized my mistake and was able to get back on course. For the rest of the stage I was riding with another couple of riders with us taking it in turns to open. Navigation was really tricky, but I think we did a good job.”
Tech3 KTM Factory Racing’s Danilo Petrucci suffered a technical issue early on in the stage that brought his day to a premature end.
Provisional Results Stage Two (overall) – 2022 Dakar Rally
1. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 3:31:20
2. Sam Sunderland (GBR), GASGAS, 3:36:53 +5:33
3. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 3:37:14 +5:54
4. Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 3:37:36 +6:16
5. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 3:38:20 +7:00
14. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 3:45:51 +14:31
Provisional Standings – 2022 Dakar Rally after 2 of 12 stages
1. Sam Sunderland (GBR), GASGAS, 8:31:29
2. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 8:34:20 +2:51
3. Daniel Sanders (AUS), GASGAS, 8:34:58 +3:29
4. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 8:35:37 +4:08
5. Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 8:41:28 +9:59
11. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 8:52:16 +20:47
15. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 9:04:17 +32:48