2019 Dakar: Stage 10

Careful riders like Matthias Walkner will have an advantage in a navigation-intensive rally. Photo: Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool

Photo: Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool

It’s all over, and once again, the Dakar Rally ends with an all-KTM podium, with Toby Price giving KTM its 18th straight win.

On the final stage, Price pulled out all the stops, despite his broken wrist, winning the stage and taking home his second Dakar title. Teammate Matthias Walkner rode cautiously behind; Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) was no doubt hoping to move to first overall, but fell 10 km into the special, and had to settle for third.

Then, to add insult to Quintanilla’s injury, the race’s organizers decided to reverse Sam Sunderland’s penalty from a couple of days ago, meaning he moved up to third overall, bumping the Husqvarna rider into fourth.

While the final race results were the focus of the day, it’s worth noting Honda’s Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo did well in the final stage, finishing second; teammate Kevin Benavides was sixth. Both of these guys are the real deal, despite their ill fortunes riding for Big Red (Florimo got a 15-minute penalty for an engine change), and acquitted themselves well this year, despite all the he said/she said drama around the team.

Further down the ranks, in 60th overall, Anastasiya Nifontova made history by becoming the first woman to finish the Dakar’s Malle Moto category (where no outside help is allowed to maintain the bikes). She is one of 16 racers to finish Malle Moto this year, out of 31 starters.

Anyway, it’s all over now, and we’ll have some final thoughts on this year’s race coming shortly. And one last thing: As per the terms of the wager between KTM factory rider Laia Sanz, the top-ranked female, and her teammate Price, she now gets to cut off his mullet (she had to place at least 15th to earn that privilege, and she ended in 11th overall). And Toby, for not only getting a top-five finish, but first overall, now gets to kiss her for a solid five seconds. We’re sure the carnage will be epic.

Stage 10 results

  1. Michael Metge, Sherco
  2. Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo, Honda, + 00:02:21
  3. Matthias Walkner, KTM, + 00:02:38
  4. Sam Sunderland, KTM, + 00:03;19
  5. Luciano Benavides, KTM, + 00:0320
  6. Kevin Benavides, Honda, + 00:03:59
  7. Andrew Short, Husqvarna, + 00:04;09
  8. Xavier de Soultrait, Yamaha, + 00:06:16
  9. Daniel Nosiglia Jager, MEC HRC, + 00:10:02
  10. Sebastian Buhler, Buhler Racing, + 00:10:41

Overall top 10

  1. Toby Price, KTM (00:01:33 penalty)
  2. Matthias Walkner, KTM, + 00:09:13 (00:03:00 penalty)
  3. Sam Sunderland, KTM, + 00:13:34 (00:02:00 penalty)
  4. Pablo Quintanilla, Husqvarna, + 00:20:46
  5. Andrew Short, Husqvarna, + 00:44:10
  6. Xavier de Soultrait, Yamaha, + 00:54:00 (00:01:00 penalty)
  7. Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo, Honda, + 01: 08:06 (00:15:00 penalty)
  8. Luciano Benavides, KTM, + 01: 09:10
  9. Oriol Mena, Hero, + 02:08:41
  10. Daniel Nosiglia Jager, + 02:31:53 (00:02:00 penalty)


    • I tried to explain as much as I could in the piece before the series. Your assessment of the penalties is 100% correct, and any attempt to understand them is pointless. The ASO is a rule unto themselves.

        • Because it’s the greatest race on earth?

          Most years, the ASO is a paragon of disorganization, although this year, they were much easier to deal with–I suspect it was because the race ran in a single country.

          The way the penalties work is, every year, a bunch of riders do well using loopholes in the rules. Here’s an example: For the past few years,the mapmen have been key — professional map readers, who make roadbook notes for the riders, showing them where to do shortcuts for speed, etc. Of course, only larger teams can afford to to have mapmen, so this year, the ASO outlawed roadbook notes.

          So what always happens when the ASO makes a ruling like this, some team tries to get around them. This year, Honda tried it, with the map notes taped to the fuel tank. The ASO tends to draw up new rules or clarifies the rules along the way to address these attempts, which is what caught Honda (in what was a pretty dumb mistake, I think).

          The penalties themselves, though, seem extremely arbitrary. Why is a engine swap a 15-minute penalty, an irritrack tamper an hour penalty, illegal roadbook notes 3 hours? Often, when you read the rules, the penalties handed out don’t seem to make sense either. I think part of the problem is the translation between English and French, and part of the problem is arrogant teams thinking they can beat the system, and part of it is racers and teams not knowing this is one series where you really have to learn to play the game of appeasing the officials.

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