Quote from Price on second stage: “It was a really, really fast stage but with no navigation. It was a really long day: we had a 274-km special and we’re at 38 or 40°C right now, so it’s definitely been a hot one on the bike and part of the equipment, but we’re here at the end of day two. Another victory there; I can’t complain – it’s all gone alright. I had a quick look at the time on the thing, but I’m not too sure of the gap. It’s only early days so it’s just nice and smooth and consistent for the rest of the week and looking forward to pushing hard the second week. It was really crazy. There were a lot of cows. It was really hard coming through all the dust there this morning. A couple of them caught me a bit by surprise. All in all, we’ve had a good stage and I can’t complain and hopefully there’s more to come. You’re going along this roads that aren’t more than a car width’s wide and if a cow steps out from behind one of the trees or the bushes it’s not going to be too pretty, but you’ve already got enough to do than think about that when you’re on the bike in the middle of the stage. But when you’re sitting here right now you just think that was really wild. All is good and I’m ready to go for another day. We have more kangaroos back home than cows, but I’d rather pick on a kangaroo a little bit more than a cow, but all in all, I got through it”. — Dakar.com
- Update: Faggotter now in 10th after penalties. He’s the fastest Yamaha.
Toby Price took advantage of the 275-km long special to let his speed do the talking and pick up a very convincing win in San Miguel de Tucuman. With a lead of more than three minutes over his nearest pursuers, the winner in 2016 has a solid advantage in the general standings.
While the competitors are now in a country well known to the Dakar as they visit Argentina for the 9th consecutive year, the region of Chaco had not yet been explored by the rally. The participants discovered narrow tracks which kicked up plenty of dust in a setting reminiscent of the African Savannah. Special attention was required concerning the many wild animals and flooded fords. Furthermore, the heat sorely tested the competitors’ bodies on this first long stage on the Dakar Dakar 2017.
Toby Price gave a show of force and has not waited long to stamp his authority on the 2017 edition. The Australian won the stage with a lead of more than 3 minutes over his team-mate Matthias Walkner and almost four minutes over Paulo Goncalves. Xavier de Soultrait also put in a solid performance with the day’s fourth best time.In the quad race, Pablo Copetti fought an impressive duel with Nelson Sanabria and triumphed over the Paraguayan at the end of the special. The Argentinean is the new category leader in his native territory.
Performance of the day
Toby Price lived up to his race number 1 by dominating the battle on this second stage. The Australian, the first non-European to have won the Dakar, went on all out attack to leave his team-mate Matthias Walkner and the leading Honda ridden by Paulo Goncalves trailing in his wake. His main rivals of 2016, Pablo Quintanilla and Stefan Svitko are even further back, whilst Joan Barreda has just managed to creep into the top 10.
Provisional overall standings after Stage Two:
1. PRICE, Toby (AUS) KTM
2. GONÇALVES, Paulo (PRT) +02:54
3. SUNDERLAND, Sam (GBR) +03:23
4. DE SOULTRAIT, Xavier (FRA) +03:41
5. QUINTANILLA, Pablo (CHL) +04:26
6. BRABEC, Ricky (USA) + 04:29
7. SVITKO, Stefan (SVK) +04:45
8. BARREDA, BortT Joan (ESP) +05:32
9. PEDRERO, Garcia Juan (ESP) +06:46
10. FARRES, Guell Gerard (ESP) +06:49
13. FAGGOTTER, Rodney (AUS) +08:50
45. SMITH, Todd (AUS) +34:24
58. HART MATTHEW (AUS) +46:36
Report from FOX Sports…
‘Price’s low finish on the opening stage gave him a prime starting position for the second and he made full use of it from the start.
‘He led at every major timing waypoint, putting over 2min 30sec over his nearest rival by just the halfway point of the stage.
“Today was a whole different day,” Price said. “There was a lot of speed; a lot of fast roads and it was really dusty. We also had to deal with a lot of animals.
“It wasn’t a tricky day in navigation but you can’t put a cow in the road book and it becomes difficult when they are popping out at you.
“But it’s good to get to the finish with this heat.”
‘The win is the seventh Dakar stage victory of Price’s career, and by the finish he was almost three and a half minutes clear of his nearest rival.
‘That was KTM teammate Matthias Walkner, but the Austrian copped a five minute penalty that dropped him from second on the stage to 13th on the day and 11th overall.
‘Price’s 2016 adversary Paulo Goncalves moves to second by dint of Walkner’s penalty, with KTM’s Sam Sunderland moving to third overall.
‘Xavier De Soultrait showed his pace on the opening test was no flash in the pan, emerging third quickest on the day to hold down fourth overall.
‘Honda’s Joan Barreda started the stage strongly, sitting third to Price and Walkner at the halfway point, before fading in the run to the line to only finish eighth, while teammate Michael Metge gave up his spot in the top 10 by dropping behind his teammates early to fulfil his role as a support rider.
‘Australia had one of its best days on the Dakar, with Rod Faggotter and Todd Smith joining Price inside the Top 20 on the stage.
‘Despite his role as support rider and water boy, Faggotter was the quickest of the factory Yamaha team riders through the test on his way to 10th for the day, benefitting from time penalties to Walkner, Yamaha teammate Alessandro Botturi and a local KTM racer.
‘Smith continued his strong start to cross the line 17th fastest aboard his Polish-run KTM, but has since been handed 22 minutes of time penalties that drop him to 52nd on the day.
‘The fourth Aussie in the field, Matt Hart, also enjoyed a strong ride in setting the 35th fastest time but still sits low in the overall standings after copping a 15-minute penalty for an engine change at the end of the first day.’