One stage remains in the 2019 Dakar Rally after today’s stage in the dunes of Pisco. The final stage, set for tomorrow, will take competitors back to Lima and features a short 112km timed special and has a total distance of 359km.
In just his second appearance at the grueling off-road race, Andrew Short, riding for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Rally Team, is rapidly rising up the charts. After Stage 8 yesterday, Short sat in seventh; after a fourth-place finish in Stage 9, Short is fourth overall heading into tomorrow.
“There’s been a lot of chaos over the last few days,” Short said in a team statement. “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’m 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.”
Short, who switched to rally after a long, storied career in motocross and supercross, finished 17th in his first Dakar Rally in 2018 after breaking his ankle with two days to go.
“Just looking back, it went really quick,” he told us following his first Dakar. “I wasn’t as competitive as I hoped to be, especially when I talked to you guys in October. I thought I would catch on much quicker and be more competitive sooner. But I really struggled with the navigation and my speed on the high-speed roads, or piece, as they call it. I was really good in the sand, but there were definitely things I need to learn and respond to quickly. Overall, I just felt like it was an amazing experience and a dream come true.”
Australian Toby Price continues to lead the overall heading into the last stage. The 2016 Dakar champion holds a slim 1m02s lead on Short’s teammate Pablo Quintanilla. Price suffered a broken right scaphoid during pre-event training midway through December, which required surgery, but he continues to push through the pain.
“I knew today had to count so I gave it everything—the wrist is really starting to sting now! It was a long special at 360 kilometres but I got through it and I’m pleased with how the whole stage went,” Price said in a KTM press release following Stage 8. “Just two days left so I’ll get some rest tonight and attack again tomorrow. When the helmet goes on, you know I’m just going to do the best I can.”
As we reported yesterday, American Ricky Brabec, who led the event through Stage 7, suffered a mechanical issue and was forced to retire from the event.
Provisional Standings After Stage Nine
1. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 32:43:15
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 32:44:17 +1:02
3. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 32:49:50 +6:35
4. Andrew Short (USA), Husqvarna, 33:23:16 +40:01
5. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 33:30:59 +47:44
Main image: Marcin Kin / Husqvarna Images