2023 Dakar Rally: Kevin Benavides wins by 43 seconds from Toby Price
Results from the 14th and last stage of the 2023 Dakar Rally where Kevin Benavides set the fastest time to grab his second win by just 43s over Toby Price – Romain Dumontier wins the Rally 2 class and Charan Moore claims the Original by Motul.
Stage 14 in a nutshell:
- Just 12 seconds was all that separated the leading two riders, Toby Price and Kevin Benavides, at the start of today’s final Dakar stage. One thing was more or less guaranteed, KTM would win their 19th Dakar title but which bike would it be?
- The bike class riders started the special stage in reverse order of the general standings which meant Kevin Benavides and Toby Price were the last ones away, with Skyler Howes also still in contention, a minute and a half down in the overall.
- The challenge of the Dakar is not over until the finish line and we saw that today when, after just 29 kilometres they faced a mud patch that took some victims.
- It was a nail-biting last stage but Kevin Benavides bit the bullet hardest, puling that 12 seconds advantage back to zero by kilometre 33 which put them on the same time overall after 43h of racing…what would happen if they maintained this result until the finish? The best placed rider in the previous stage would have won.
- Clearly there were no team orders and both riders went all out posting the fastest times at nearly every waypoint with the Argentinean slowly leaving the Australian behind.
- In the end, the fastest rider won with Benavides needing 1h15m to complete the special, 55 seconds faster than Price, which gives him the Dakar trophy by just 43 seconds.
- The ’23 champion says the biggest achievement is to be the first rider to win the Dakar for two different motorcycle manufacturers in the modern, 450 era: “I just started from zero and tried not to think about anything, just to go full gas for 138 kilometres. It wasn’t easy, there was a lot of mud and they also put some difficult navigation points in there, the validation points were so small and two times I had to go back so lost some time. For me the biggest achievement is to be the first rider to win the Dakar with two different manufacturers.”
- Toby Price clearly wanted that illustrious third title, pushing hard in the last stretch of the special he was able to take 20 seconds off his teammate by the km 102 but it was already too late.
- Third place went to Skyler Howes who did his all to claim Husqvarna their first, and the USA their second, Dakar title. Howes finished just over 5m down on the leading pair in the end but well-clear of P4.
- The Honda duo Pablo Quintanilla and Adrien Van Beveren closing out the top five trading fourth and fifth place in this last stage for the honour of best HRC rider.
- Romain Dumontier has once again been the best driver in Rally 2 to put the finishing touch to his Dakar 2023 and take the category victory ahead of Paolo Lucci.
- In Original by Motul it seems that Charan Moore's engine made it through the last stage to take the South African to the finish line and claim the win.
2023 Dakar Rally final standings – Rally GP:
2023 Dakar Rally final standings – Rally 2:
Stage 14 results:
Photo Credit: Rally Zone