Stage two of the 2019 Dakar Rally challenged all motorcycle competitors with an extremely fast and rough, timed special of 342 kilometres. Leaving Pisco and heading south along the coast towards San Juan de Marcona the unusual stage saw the cars opening the route, leaving the bikes to deal with the many tracks ahead of them in the sand. The added traffic not only caused the terrain to cut up badly, but also made navigation even more of a challenge.
Following his solid ride on the short, opening day’s stage, Matthias Walkner was the seventh rider to enter today’s timed special. Feeling comfortable on his KTM 450 RALLY, the reigning Dakar Champion opted to push right from the beginning. For the majority of the stage Walkner chased down Ricky Brabec ahead of him, only to head the American rider in the last 40 kilometres and ultimately claim the stage win by a narrow 22 seconds.
Despite a small mistake that caused him to get stuck early on in the stage, Toby Price went on to post the fourth fastest time of the day, three minutes behind stage winner Walkner. Although still riding in pain due to his injured wrist, Price now sits fifth overall in the provisional overall standings and is determined to maintain his strong pace as the rally progresses.
Toby Price: “Day two was long, 342 kilometres on my wrist was really tough. It didn’t help that I got stuck in a dune around the 50-kilometre mark and had to pull the bike out and turn around. That hurt my wrist a little more but I managed to live with it for the rest of the stage, even though it was really bumpy after the cars had been through. All in all, I’m pretty happy with my time and looking forward to tomorrow.”
Yamalube Yamaha Rally rider Rodney Faggotter put in another steady performance, collecting a 29th place result to move to 27th in the provisional overall.
Wednesday's stage three will see riders return to the dunes of the South American country. It features a massive distance of 798km and includes a timed special of 342km.
"We're just two days into this Dakar and we've already entered the most demanding stages. The stage today was fast and long. For me, the goal is to remain consistent and bring my Yamaha back to the bivouac safely. It's all going according to plan so far and I'm looking forward to the dune stages to come."
Provisional Standings after Stage Two – 2019 Dakar Rally
1. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 4:23:14
2. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 4:24:45 +1:31
3. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 4:24:47 +1:33
4. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Husqvarna, 4:26:31 +3:17
5. Toby Price (AUT), KTM, 4:27:47 +4:33
27. Rodney Faggotter (AUS), Yamaha, 05:06:13, +42:59