Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price has finished the massively challenging 48-hour chrono stage at the Dakar Rally in an impressive second place. Kevin Benavides also put in a strong ride across the dunes to place seventh. Now, at the close of a long first week at Dakar, Toby and Kevin lie in fifth and sixth place, respectively.

With a relatively short 112 kilometers of racing today to complete the two-day marathon stage, riders left their temporary bivouac in Saudi’s Empty Quarter and headed back to their teams at Shubaytah. After an intensely long day yesterday on the first leg of the stage, and experiencing the bare minimum in comforts overnight, all competitors were glad to finish the 835-kilometer two-day stage and complete what has proved to be a long and exhausting first week at Dakar ’24.

Going into the marathon stage on Thursday, Toby Price knew his later start position would prove advantageous. Arriving at the rest point yesterday as third-fastest, Toby went one place better today to complete the full sixth stage as runner-up. The result now moves him up into the top five overall where he trails the provisional race leader by exactly 27 minutes. Although the gap is a little higher than the two-time Dakar champion would like, he now looks ahead to the second week of competition, confident of gaining time on his rivals.

Toby Price: “The marathon stage has definitely been a little tougher than we thought it was going to be. It was such a long day yesterday – we did about 513 kilometers in the dunes and raced for around six hours and 40 minutes! At the bivouac, we were just given a sleeping bag, a tent, a small box of food rations and tried to get some sleep. Today was good – just 112 kilometers – and it felt great to reach the finish line. We all deserve our rest day, that’s for sure. Overall, at the end of this first week, I’m feeling good, and the bike has been faultless. We’re not quite where we’d hoped we would be in terms of time, but there’s still a whole second week to go, so we’re ready for it.”

As the seventh rider to enter the 48-hour chrono stage yesterday, Kevin Benavides soon found himself up near the front of the pack with little in the way of tracks ahead of him. Despite his position, the reigning Dakar champion was able to navigate through the stage in good time and arrive safely at the bivouac. Due to his position near the front, Kevin was the fourth rider to enter today’s 112-kilometer timed special, but maintained a good pace over the final section of dunes to complete stage six in seventh place. Currently in sixth place in the overall standings, Benavides will be aiming to move higher up the leaderboard when racing resumes on Sunday.

Kevin Benavides: “We’ve finished the 48-hour marathon stage now. I think it was a good experience – something new to Dakar. Yesterday we raced for so long through the dunes, after well over six hours we arrived at the rest point and were just given a tent, a sleeping bag, and some food. It was really good fun though, camping out with the rest of the guys. Today was a lot shorter – we did just over 112 kilometers. I think I did a good job – my starting positions on both days weren’t the best, but I didn’t make too many mistakes and was able to complete it all safely. I’m in a good condition physically, looking forward to the rest day, but then we start the second week and try to push again.”

Riders now head to Riyadh to enjoy a well-earned rest day ahead of the second week of racing at the 2024 Dakar Rally, which commences on Sunday, January 14.

Provisional Results – 2024 Dakar Rally, Stage 6

1. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 7:57:29
2. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 8:01:42 +4:13
3. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 8:02:31 +5:02
4. Daniel Sanders (AUS), GASGAS, 8:04:24 +6:55
5. Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 8:07:09 +9:40
Other KTM
7. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 8:13:34 +16:05

Provisional Standings – 2024 Dakar Rally (after 6 of 12 stages)

1. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 27:11:21
2. Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 27:12:12 +0:51
3. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 27:20:42 +9:21
4. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (CHL), Honda, 27:25:35 +14:14
5. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 27:38:21 +27:00
Other KTM
6. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 27:39:54 +28:33