Aussie desert racer Toby Price maintains fourth place overall after finishing the ninth stage of the Dakar Rally.
Riders spent their final day in the sand of Chile’s Atacama Desert as they went from Iquique to Calama, over a total distance of 539km.
Competitors first had to tackle some 50km of sand and dunes before encountering rougher narrow tracks with plenty of potholes and areas of fesh-fesh (fine dust).
Price was one of a number of riders to make the error 360km into the day’s special stage,
“This morning was going well and we were making up ground.
“I made a small navigational error in the sand but I got on top of it.
“We were about one minute off the lead at the first checkpoint but then we went into the fesh-fesh area and it was really tough.
“Then at about the 360km mark there was a waypoint and we all got lost and the other guys made up ground.
“It was frustrating to lose time there but I am happy we’re here.
“As long as we can get to the finish line, that’s the main goal.
“But if we can stay in the top five that’s even better.”
The Australian KTM 450 Rally rider finished eighth for the stage, but made a small amount of ground on Chilean Pablo Qunitanilla, who currently stands between the Australian Off Road Champion and a spectacular podium position in his maiden Dakar.
Stage winner was Helder Rodrigues of Portugal who finished in 5:06.14 hours with countryman Paolo Goncalves 3.51 minutes behind in second place.
Gonçalves is not worried to be the second placed rider in the general standings however, he was satisfied with regaining 3’43’’ from Marc Coma and now seems to be the only rider able to trouble the KTM rider after nine stages.
Marc Coma, previous Dakar champion crossed the line 7.34 minutes behind the leader Rodrigues.
— DAKAR RALLY (@dakar) January 13, 2015
Stage 10 on Wednesday is the start of the second marathon stage, which takes riders over a distance of 891km, including a timed special of 371km.
Preservation of bikes and tires will again be important as they are not permitted any support or assistance from their teams overnight.
Results Stage 9 Dakar Rally 2015? – Iquique to Calama – 88km liaison, 451km special (total 539km)
1. Helder Rodrigues (POR), Honda, 5:05.14 h
2. Paolo Goncalves (POR), Honda, +3.51 min
3. Marc Coma (ESP), KTM, +7.34
4. Javier Pizzolito (ARG), Honda, +20.07
5. Stefan Svitko (SVK), KTM, +21.40
6. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, +23.09?
Standings Dakar Rally 2015 after 9 of 13 stages?
1. Coma, 33:05.00 h
2. Goncalves, +5.28 min
3. Qunitanilla, +26.52
4. Price, +31.31
5. Svitko, +40.36
Previous Dakar Rally News
Dakar Rally – Another Top-five For Price
Dakar Rally – Price Fifth After Marathon Stage Seven
Price is Right with 2nd place finish Stage Six of Dakar Rally
Dakar Rally 2015 – Coma wins stage five
Dakar Rally – Navigation error costly for Price
Toby Price moves to sixth overall in Dakar Rally
Toby Price fifth place after Dakar Rally stage two
Image Source – www.tp87.com.au