Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price has delivered a strong performance on the short but technically demanding stage five at the 2024 Dakar Rally to finish as third fastest. Navigating through the 118 kilometers without major issue, Price retained his eighth-place ranking in the provisional overall standings but closed in on time to the current top three. Kevin Benavides, who was the third rider to take on today’s special, completed the stage in 13th place and now lies fifth overall.

Despite including the shortest timed special of the event so far, stage five delivered another long day in the saddle with riders leaving the bivouac at Al Hofuf early in the morning ahead of a long, 508-kilometer liaison. Although not quite a sprint, the 118-kilometer special proved short but particularly challenging to navigate due to some steep sand dunes and the sun making visibility difficult.

Keeping in mind that Thursday’s opening leg of the event’s 48-hour ‘chrono’ stage would be a reverse start for the Rally GP competitors, Price knew he had to make good time on today’s special. Immediately fast from the outset, the Australian maintained his top-three position throughout the stage. Completing the special in just over 94 minutes, Toby clocked the third-quickest time, and will enjoy an advantageous start position going into Thursday’s stage 6a.

Toby Price: “It was quite a tough stage today – not very long, but it was hot and there were some challenging sections in the dunes. I’m happy though, I got through with some good pace. I missed a couple of drops, which got the heart rate up a little bit. But all in all, I’m happy with my speed and the result. Heading into tomorrow, I should have a good starting position for the long chrono stage, so my plan is to get through safely, try and conserve a little energy and the bike, and hopefully head into the rest day in a strong position overall.”

Setting off as the third rider into stage five following his top-three result from day four, Benavides was faced with the unenviable task of being one of the first riders to navigate through the soft sand and dunes of the special. The reigning Dakar champion did an excellent job however, losing the minimum of time to his rivals to complete the stage in provisional 13th place, just over five minutes behind the winner.

Kevin Benavides: “It was a short but fast stage in the dunes today. Quite open in some places, but a lot slower in others with some big drops that we really had to take care on. I set off third into the stage but really tried to make up as much time as I could ahead of Thursday’s chrono stage. It was tricky to see properly in some places due to the sun, so I did my best to get through the stage as quickly and safely as possible. I’ll now get rested and prepared for tomorrow.”

New to the Dakar Rally, Thursdays 48-hour chrono marathon stage will see riders cover a total of 835 kilometers over two days of racing. A reverse start to the special and a night under the stars in separate bivouacs await the competitors. And with no service permitted, conserving their machines will be key to a successful completion of the grueling stage.

Provisional Results – 2024 Dakar Rally, Stage 5

1. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Honda, 1:32:53
2. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 1:33:30 +0:37
3. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 1:34:32 +1:39
4. Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 1:35:51 +2:58
5. Mason Klein (USA), KOVE, 1:35:54 +3:01
Other KTM
13. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 1:38:28 +5:35

Provisional Standings – 2024 Dakar Rally (after 5 of 12 stages)

1. Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 19:05:03
2. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (CHL), Honda, 19:06:17 +1:14
3. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 19:08:50 +3:47
4. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 19:23:13 +18:10
5. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 19:26:20 +21:17
Other KTM
8. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 19:36:39 +31:36