Hillston’s Toby Price has been able to maintain his fifth place position over the course of two tough days which saw him take stages two and three of the Dakar Rally in Peru.
Stage two saw the competitors cover 553km and race from Pisco to San Juan de Marcona and Price was able to close the gap to the first placed Joan Barreda Bort to four minutes and 33 seconds after finishing the stage in fourth place.
Battling through the pain of his wrist he was able to get himself out of a tricky situation.
“ It didn’t help that I got stuck in a dune around the 50-kilometre mark and had to pull the bike out and turn around,” he said on his Facebook page.
“That hurt my wrist a little more, but I managed to live with it for the rest of the stage, even though it was really bumpy after the cars had been through.
“All in all, I’m pretty happy with my time.”
Price’s chances of collecting a second title have been enhanced after misfortune hit one of the leading rivals and ended his race.
Overnight leader Barreda had to withdraw for the second straight year after his Honda became stranded in a basin early in the timed portion of the third stage from San Juan de Marcona to Arequipa.
The Spaniard, who was one of the pre-race favourites, had to be pulled out by helicopter after he crashed and became stuck.
It was a tough day for Price as well, but he managed to hold onto his fifth place position in the overall classification despite finishing ninth in the 798km stage.
Price was glad to be able to get to through the stage.
“I think it was more about survival than racing today. It was a really tough stage, but I got through it, and I’m feeling good, and that’s what matters,” he said.
“I got lost early on, and that cost me some time to the front-runners. Then at about the 130-kilometre mark, there was a lot of fog in the mountains.
“The road book didn’t have too many details, and there were a few cliffs you could have dropped off. Luckily, I missed them. I’m still trying to hang on and get to the end of each stage, but overall things are good.”
Price is sitting 15 minutes and 17 seconds behind new leader Pablo Quintanilla from Chile.