Australian Toby Price is fully focused on success as he completes his final preparations ahead of the 2024 Dakar Rally, which starts in Saudi Arabia on January 5.
Missing out on the 2023 Dakar Rally win by a mere 43 seconds after two tough weeks of racing, Toby Price has one goal for the 2024 event – to clinch his third career victory. The 36-year-old enjoyed a strong season of racing in 2023, finishing off his year with a convincing win at the Rallye du Maroc. 2024 marks Toby’s 10th Dakar and he hopes to celebrate that milestone by topping the timesheets at the finish in Yanbu on January 19.
“The 2024 Dakar will be my 10th overall and my ninth riding for the KTM factory team. Out of the nine we’ve done together, I’ve managed to podium in six, which is incredible when you think about how tough the race is and how hard it is to even reach the finish,” Price reflected.
“I’ve had two first-place finishes, a second, and three third place finishes – to clinch another win on my 10th attempt would be amazing. Dakar is like no other race. For sure, the riding is hard work, fun, and exhausting, but I love the way everyone comes together to complete the race. Dakar is like my second family, so it’s always good to see everyone, get ready for the race, and get my competitive side back going again. I’m in a good place physically, and the bike is good – we’re definitely ready to race Dakar 2024.”
Coming into the 2024 Dakar as reigning champion, Price’s teammate, Kevin Benavides has his sights set on securing back-to-back titles at the iconic event. However, the 2023 season was not a kind one for the Argentinian, with injuries forcing him to miss several races over the year. Despite suffering a further, frustrating injury to his leg while training in December, Benavides hopes to be close to 100% fit for Dakar and able to focus on his goal of bringing home the trophy for the second year in a row.
“The Dakar means everything to me,” the 34-year-old expressed. “This year was special because I won with KTM, and I had the honor of fighting right to the end with my teammate. The rest of this year has been really tough. I was full of confidence after my Dakar win, but then breaking my femur early in the season, followed by my wrist later on, meant I didn’t get much race time on the bike at all. Behind the scenes, I was training as hard as I could to rebuild my fitness and mental strength, but it’s been a difficult year, for sure. Now, heading into a new year and a new Dakar, I really want to put 2023 behind me and fight for the win once again. I know I have what it takes, we just need to get through it without any setbacks and I should be well in the fight at the end of the race. We’re just a few weeks away from the start and I can’t wait to get going.”
Unfortunately, Matthias Walkner will miss the 2024 Dakar Rally due to an injury he sustained to his left leg while training in the United States. The 37-year-old racer received immediate surgery to stabilize the break but will require further surgery once he returns home to Austria.
The 46th edition of the Dakar Rally will be held from January 5-19, 2024, starting in AlUla and concluding two weeks later in Yanbu on the shores of the Red Sea. In total, competitors will cover close to 8,000km, 5,000 of which will be raced against the clock. For its fifth year in Saudi Arabia, the 2024 rally is set to include 14 days of racing, including an opening prologue and a 48-hour stage. During the new 48-hour stage, riders will be stopped at 4 pm on the first day before heading off again at 7 am the next day. The organizers have promised an incredibly challenging race with 60% new terrain and over 5,000km of special stage.