(APA) – Salzburg’s Matthias Walkner narrowly missed his first stage win at this year’s Dakar Rally on Thursday. The 2018 winner landed on the 11th stage from Shubaytah to Haradh on motorcycles just nine seconds behind Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), thus improving to fourth overall. He is 7:19 minutes behind his third-placed KTM colleague Toby Price (AUS).
Quintanilla halved his gap to US leader Ricky Brabec by around half to 13:56 min. Brabec came in tenth on the 744 km section – 379 km of which were special stages – and lost the day winner 11:48 min. However, the Honda driver is still in a comfortable position, with the final stage on Friday in Saudi Arabia. It goes over 347 SP kilometers to Qiddiya.
Walkner reported an eventful day after the stage arrival. Right at the start he missed a tear-off edge and jumped four meters into the flat: “I hit my head properly. After that I was really alert. ”He knew on the extremely fast stage that there was a chance to attack. However, his aggressive driving style led to higher fuel consumption.
He then tried to save fuel, but ran out of gas two to three kilometers before a petrol stop. “I put the motorcycle on its side so that all the petrol runs together and drove on again.” After one kilometer the same game, so he managed to refuel. “If that had happened a kilometer earlier, I would not have finished.”
However, he lost two to three minutes as a result of these breaks and thus probably won the stage. The 33-year-old tried to make up ground at full throttle. He was quite lucky not to fall in one or two situations. “I really pushed the last 50 kilometers again. I was extremely satisfied with the bike and my pace today. ”Now he is looking forward to the final:“ I am really motivated. ”
Article picture: GEPA