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2019 Dakar Stage 9: Toby Price Leads As Mickael Metge Wins Penultimate Stage

Author: Garry Morrow

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2019 Dakar Stage 9: Toby Price Leads As Mickael Metge Wins Penultimate Stage
Mickael Metge broke the Honda/KTM domination with his first win of the Rally. Photo: RallyZone
Mickael Metge has taken his first stage victory of the 2019 Dakar Rally after securing the victory on the ninth and penultimate stage ahead of Daniel Nosiglia and Pablo Quintanilla, Australian Toby Price retains the overall lead.

With no real advantage gained on today‰Ûªs stage, Toby Price successfully defended his lead in the rally‰Ûªs overall standings with 4th place. Just over one-minute separates Price and nearest competitor Pablo Quintanilla and the two rivals now head into tomorrow‰Ûªs short final stage where they are expected to battle for the overall win of the rally.

Stage nine of the rally saw another motocross style mass-start with riders setting off in waves of 10, determined by their finishing positions from the previous day‰Ûªs stage. Heading into the dunes for the 313-kilometre timed special, the first group of riders stuck together for the majority of the stage. Although it was in fact two riders from the second group who took the honours today, the top riders in the overall crossed the line just seconds apart.


Michael Metge took advantage of the stalemate among the leaders to clinch his first Dakar stage win. It was a great day for the French rider and Sherco, who managed to break the KTM-Honda duopoly.

"It's unbelievable ... a very good stage, a lot of sand and fech-fech, I started on the 2nd line and I pushed all the way through the stage and caught up with the first riders and then I caught and passed the first place rider. I am very happy for the team ... The bike was amazing, so fast in the sand! Very happy for this team that deserves it, but also for my family, my wife and my 2 children who watch me every day!‰Û
2019 Dakar Stage 9: Toby Price Leads As Mickael Metge Wins Penultimate Stage
Honda privateer Daniel Nosiglia moved into tenth in the general classification with a stunning second on todays stage. Photo: Frederic Floc'h / DPPI
Honda rider Daniel Nosiglia stunned many with an impressive second place on the stage, The Bolivian rider's second place today was also his best performance in three Dakar starts. Nosiglia now holds down 10th in the general classification.

"Yeah, it was a good stage for me. At the beginning, I started first in my group and I led the entire race. It was, I think, my best stage in the Dakar. I made no navigation mistakes. In the last part I had a little crash and Michael [Metge] passed me, but it was a good stage for me."
2019 Dakar Stage 9: Toby Price Leads As Mickael Metge Wins Penultimate Stage
Pablo Quintanilla mad small gains on Toby Price's lead with third on today's stage but remains just a minute behind the Australian in second overall. Photo: Marcin Kin
Launching a fierce attack in the dunes of Pisco today, Pablo Quintanilla managed to reduce his gap to the provisional overall leader Toby Price. Determined to battle for overall victory tomorrow, Pablo has his eyes set on improving on his career best third place result he earned at the 2016 Dakar Rally.

‰ÛÏI‰Ûªm in a great spot right now to battle for the win and I‰Ûªm really happy about that," Quintanilla enthused. "Securing a podium result would be great for me and the team, but honestly my eyes are set on getting the win here in Peru. Today‰Ûªs stage worked quite well for me. The mass start made it all more interesting. There were some tricky waypoints to make, but overall I felt good and managed to get a good time. Tomorrow I‰Ûªm determined to give it all for the win. There‰Ûªs just one minute separating me and Toby [Price] and the day will be long. No matter what happens tomorrow I am very satisfied with my performance at this Dakar. I gave 100% on each day and that‰Ûªs what matters the most for me.‰Û
2019 Dakar Stage 9: Toby Price Leads As Mickael Metge Wins Penultimate Stage
Matthias Walkner was 4th on todays stage and is six minutes and 35 seconds down on leader Toby Price in 4th place in the overall. Photo: Marcin Kin
Placed fourth on today‰Ûªs stage, Matthias Walkner lies third overall in the general standings, six minutes and 35 seconds behind Price. Despite the deficit, Walkner‰Ûªs advantage over the fourth-placed rider is considerable and the defending Dakar champion has no choice but to push on tomorrow‰Ûªs stage to make up as much time as possible.

‰ÛÏThe stage felt really long today, partly because the pace was up and down all of the time," Walkner said. "Riding in a group sometimes someone will push and everyone gets faster and then things will slow down again. Riding in the dust was tough and it made navigation tricky ‰ÛÒ we got lost a few times trying to find waypoints. I didn‰Ûªt lose any time to the others though and I have a good gap to the next rider in the standings. Tomorrow there is no time for strategy, so I will give it my best and see where I finish.‰Û
2019 Dakar Stage 9: Toby Price Leads As Mickael Metge Wins Penultimate Stage
With a damaged wrist it has been a long 2019 Dakar for Toby Price. With one day to go he is hoping to hold on to his small lead and claim a stunning second victory. Photo: Marcin Kin
In the short 100km stage Toby Price stuck to his plan and despite having the lead is still focused on a podium!

‰ÛÏI got through stage nine today where we had the mass-start," Price said. "There was no chance to make up any time or lose time really, I just had to stick with the group. Tomorrow is only a 100-kilometre stage, but I think it‰Ûªs going to feel more like 300. The boys are really going to up their pace and all I can do is try my best once more and try to stay with them. If I can get through tomorrow and finish on the podium, I‰Ûªll be more than happy.‰Û
2019 Dakar Stage 9: Toby Price Leads As Mickael Metge Wins Penultimate Stage
Monster Energy Honda Team‰Ûªs Nacho Cornejo and Kevin Benavides race each other through the dunes, Cornejo finished the stage in 6th while Benavides was 8th. Photo: RallyZone
Monster Energy Honda Team‰Ûªs Nacho Cornejo got off to a swift, yet cautious start, but was able to push hard in the dunes, producing a performance that ranked among the best times of the day. Nacho‰Ûªs sixth place on the stage meant the rider moves up to sixth overall.

"In this penultimate stage there was a mass start, so we were all pretty close together all day," the Chilean said. "As a consequence there was a lot of dust and we had to keep a distance so that it wasn‰Ûªt so dangerous. In the dunes we all got together again and lost a few minutes looking for several complicated waypoints, but I was happy to see how quickly we solved the navigation problems. I‰Ûªve continued climbing positions in the general standings, and now I‰Ûªm sixth which I‰Ûªm happy about. Tomorrow is the last day and I will try to set the same pace as I have over recent day."
2019 Dakar Stage 9: Toby Price Leads As Mickael Metge Wins Penultimate Stage
American Andrew Short was once again a top performer coming in 7th place and as a result took himself to 4th in the general classification. Photo: Marcin Kin
Remaining calm and focused, Andrew Short has climbed up to an impressive fourth place in the Dakar‰Ûªs provisional overall standings after today‰Ûªs stage nine. Claiming a seventh place result for the day, the American racer is looking forward to tomorrow‰Ûªs final stage.

‰ÛÏThere‰Ûªs been a lot of chaos over the last few days," Short said. "My plan from the beginning of this race was to just focus on my performance and try to be as smooth and consistent as possible. I‰Ûªm happy to see my strategy is paying off. This fourth place in the overall is simply amazing. The moto start today was great fun for me. After the start, the terrain became a bit tricky and dangerous at some parts. There was a lot of dust and you really had to pay attention on the road book. That was stressful and there was this one waypoint at the end that was super tricky. The fatigue is setting in right now, but nevertheless I am really looking forward to reaching the finish line in Lima tomorrow.‰Û
2019 Dakar Stage 9: Toby Price Leads As Mickael Metge Wins Penultimate Stage
Spaniard Laia Sanz continues to impress and dominate the womens class, moving in on the top ten overall. Photo: Marcin Kin
Yamalube Yamaha Rally's Xavier de Soultrait put in another solid stage performance with 10th to secure a spot inside the top five in the provisional overall standings, while team-mate Adrien Van Beveren lost more than three hours battling with a small technical issue and was unable to finish the stage.

"I felt good in the stage today and managed to control my rhythm from start to finish," de Soultrait said. "That was possibly the first stage in this second week of the Dakar where I felt so confident with my navigation. It was a tough stage, but not that hard to create any problems for me. Tomorrow we will race a smaller special of just over 100km. This Dakar has been a tough one and this fifth place in the overall gives me the motivation to keep working hard for the future."

Sam Sunderland rode a solid stage nine, finishing in 12th place. The 2017 Dakar Champion lies eighth in the provisional overall standings.

‰ÛÏToday‰Ûªs stage went ok, I found it a little tricky to focus and couldn‰Ûªt quite get into my rhythm," the Brit said. "I lost a little time on the group but all-in-all had a good day. There‰Ûªs one last stage to race and of course I plan to give it my best.‰Û
2019 Dakar Stage 9: Toby Price Leads As Mickael Metge Wins Penultimate Stage
Morning glory during the Dakar 2019, Stage 9. Photo: Antonin Vincent / DPPI
Laia Sanz continues to impress and dominate the womens class, moving in on the top ten overall. Sanz enjoyed another consistent ride on today‰Ûªs stage. Setting off in the second wave, Laia successfully stayed with the group until a small issue caused her to lose touch. Quickly rectifying the problem, the Spaniard set off again to ultimately complete the stage in 13th place. She now sits 11th in the provisional overall standings.

‰ÛÏI am really surprised with my result so far, I haven‰Ûªt been pushing too hard on any of the stages, just keeping to a good rhythm," Sanz said. "I had a small issue today that cost me about five minutes, which was a shame because I lost touch with the group I had been riding with. Physically I felt better today too, so I am pleased about that. We only have one more day to go and I know it will feel very, very long. You start to listen to every noise on the bike and hope that nothing goes wrong. The plan is to make it to the finish and I will be really happy.‰Û
2019 Dakar Stage 9: Toby Price Leads As Mickael Metge Wins Penultimate Stage

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