Walkner in the hole: Big gap in the Dakar Rally

Walkner in the hole: Big gap in the Dakar Rally

The eleventh stage of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia saw another change at the front for the motorcycles. Husqvarna driver Skyler Howes took back the lead from Kevin Benavides (KTM) in fourth place after 274 kilometers of special stage in the sandy desert of Rub al Khali. The stage win went to Howes’ brand colleague Luciano Benavides for the third time. Matthias Walkner only finished 13th, the man from Salzburg is still tenth in the overall standings.

The American Howes is now in the lead ahead of Walkner’s KTM colleague Toby Price (+0:28 min.) and Kevin Benavides (2:44). The latter, in tenth place, lost more than six minutes to his victorious brother Luciano and lost first place to Howes, who in turn was two minutes behind the fastest of the day.

Walkner lost eight minutes

Walkner lost over eight minutes in the empty quarter after a misdirection followed by an involuntary stop in a sand hole. “I got in well, but then made a stupid navigation mistake at 60 kilometers and lost two minutes, so not that dramatically,” explained Walkner. Unfortunately, on the way back to the correct route, he got stuck. “The sand was a lot softer than expected at this point and I dug in and tried to get out for a few minutes. In total, this situation cost me more than six minutes.”

The 2018 Dakar winner nevertheless spoke of one of the most beautiful stages so far. Kuchler, who has an injured wrist, is almost 45 minutes behind in the overall standings before the second part of the marathon stage. A total of three parts are still outstanding.

Stage 11, Shaybah – Empty Quarter (427 km/274 km classified): 1. Luciano Benavides (Arg/Husqvarna) 2:57:59 hrs, 2. Daniel Sanders (Aus/GasGas) +1:38 mins, 3. Toby Price (Aus/KTM) +1:56; 13. Matthias Walkner (Ö/KTM) +8:34.
Overall rating after 11 of 14 stages: 1. Skyler Howes (USA/Husqvarna) 38:47:43 hours, 2. Toby Price (Aus/KTM) +0:28 min., 3. Kevin Benavides (Arg/KTM) +2:44; 10. Walkner (Ö/KTM) +44:45.

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