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Austrian Matthias Walkner has won the 2018 Dakar Rally, taking KTM’s 17th win on the bounce at the historic event.

Austrian Matthias Walkner finished almost 17 minutes clear of second placed Monster Energy Honda rider Kevin Benevides and 23 minutes clear of his Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team-mate Toby Price in third.

85 remaining riders set off in reverse order on the final 14th stage in Cordoba today. Walkner had done all the hard work by then, avoiding crashes and navigational errors, which had put so many of his rivals out the race. With a relatively easy cruise to victory Walkner took Austria’s first moto victory at Dakar.

2018 Dakar fast facts:

• Walkner takes Austria’s first Dakar win
• KTM win for the 17th consecutive year
• Third year in a row a different nationality has taken a maiden win
• Olivier Pain wins Malle Moto class, Lyndon Poskitt is second
• Laia Sanz finishes 12th
• The top 12 featured seven manufacturers


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Photo credit: RallyZone

Monster Energy Honda Team’s Kevin Benevides was HRC’s strongest rider of the 2018 Dakar. The Argentinian particularly shone in his local stomping ground where he cemented second place overall after a tough battle with KTM’s 2016 winner, Toby Price.

Price was another rider who took the steadier approach and watched as rivals dropped out. With strong daily results as the rally progressed, including two stage victories, Price finished in third place for KTM.

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In what turned out to a classically tough South American Dakar, the 2018 race was a war of attrition from the start. 2017 Dakar winner, Sam Sunderland was among the first big names to go out with a back injury.

Monster Energy Honda Team’s Joan Barreda was another big name to retire. Barreda was his usual crash or bust self and despite some epic fast riding, eventually injured himself and was out of the race.



Photo credit: Yamaha Racing

Yamaha Racing’s Adrien Van Beveren was perhaps the unluckiest of the potential winners to go out after a high-speed accident minutes from the finish of stage 10. The Frenchman was holding strong through the first week of the rally, topping time sheets and leading overall before his crash.

Top ten results:

Dakar Rally 2018 - Provisional top 12 Overall Classification [After Final Stage 14]
1. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 43h06m01s
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 43h22m54s
3. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 43h29m02s
4. Antoine Meo (FRA), KTM, 43h53m29s
5. Gerard Farres (ESP), KTM, 44h07m05s
6. Johnny Aubert (FRA), Gas Gas, 44h59m54s
7. Oriol Mena (ESP), Hero, 45h28m53s
8. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 45h30m06s
9. Daniel Oliveras (ESP), KTM, 45h43m21s
10. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (CHL), Honda, 45h48m37s
11. Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP), Sherco, 45h51m59s
12. Laia Sanz (ESP), KTM, 46h02m03s


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jon.pearson enduro21 april 2017
Jon Pearson

Enduro21 Tester of Things