Second fastest for Matthias Walkner on tough Day2 in Peru
|Desafio Inca Rally 2018 – Peru (PER)|
|Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Matthias Walkner has finished as runner-up on day two of the 2018 Desafio Inca Rally in Peru. Riding well in the dunes, Luciano Benavides successfully completed the day in 15th with team-mate Toby Price just one place behind.|
Stage two of the rally again comprised a 350km timed special in a looped course held near to the city of Ica. With the terrain consisting mostly of off-piste sand dunes, good navigation was extremely important, especially on the first loop of the day.
Reigning Dakar Rally champion Matthias Walkner enjoyed an excellent second stage, ultimately catching the front runners before the end of the first lap. Posting the fastest time on the difficult-to-navigate first run through the loop, Matthias was then forced to ride in a group for the remaining 170 kilometres. The Austrian’s result moves him to second overall in the provisional overall standings, just over 11 seconds down on the leader.
Matthias Walkner: “I enjoyed the stage today, especially the first loop. I was able to catch the guys in front after navigating myself through the first 150km. The bike felt great and I feel we are getting some good practice in on the steep dunes here in Peru. The second loop was very much like yesterday, we rode in a group of seven or eight riders and to be honest you don’t learn that much like that. Visibility is a big issue with the dust kicked up by the guys in front and you really have to be careful on some of the blind crests. You still have to keep an eye on your road book though – you can’t always trust the others. Tomorrow I’ll set off second, which is not ideal for the last day but I’ll push from the beginning and hopefully hold off the others behind for as long as I can.”
Continuing to gain navigational knowledge and confidence aboard his KTM 450 RALLY, Luciano Benavides posted the 15th fastest time on the day’s stage. Happy with his performance despite a couple of errors midway through the day, Luciano now looks forward to Sunday’s final 200 kilometres.
Luciano Benavides: “I felt good today – I feel I am really learning and my rhythm on the bike is improving too. I did have an issue with my navigation where the GPS took me in the wrong direction – that cost me some minutes, but overall I am happy to get the kilometres on the bike here in Peru ahead of the Dakar in January.”
With the results from Friday deciding the start of Saturday’s stage, day one winner Toby Price was first into the timed special. Despite laying a trail for the chasing riders to follow, Price enjoyed a strong first lap navigating well and maintaining a solid pace over the undulating terrain. As was the case on day one, the second lap on Saturday saw a group of riders enter the stage and remain together for the entire 170 kilometres. Unfortunately, Toby suffered an issue with his GPS and was forced to turn back to validate a missed waypoint. With further issues hampering his progress, the Australian ultimately finished 16th.
Toby Price: “The first loop today went really well, I navigated through the first 160 kilometres without an issue and was able to keep to a good strong pace. Then, just like yesterday, we started the second loop in a big group. I’m not sure why, but even though we were all riding together, my GPS didn’t record one particular waypoint. It’s really strange because it seems I was the only one who missed it and I had to turn around and retrace my steps to try and validate it. After that, and even though I was in the tracks of the leading group, the GPS failed to pick up another waypoint. It then jumped about 15 kilometres and I think it’s missed others, too. It’s frustrating because it makes my results look bad through no fault of my own. On the plus side, I still feel strong in myself and we’re getting some good data riding the bike here in the dunes. There’s one more day left so I’m hoping for a better result tomorrow.”
Sam Sunderland and Laia Sanz were both forced to retire from Friday’s stage one – Laia though an illness and Sam due to still recovering from his foot injury. Keen to clock up as many miles in the Peruvian desert as possible to increase their experience ahead of the Dakar Rally in January, the two riders made the start of stage two but again decided to only complete the first loop.
Sam Sunderland: “I woke up with quite a lot of pain this morning after riding yesterday’s stage, but I knew I had to make the start today to get a few more kilometres done on the bike. I set off 15th and was riding well but after only 10 kilometres or so I found I had bent my rear brake disc on a rock and it meant I had to ride the rest of the stage with no rear brake. It was frustrating but as I’m not here to fight for the win, I decided to carry on and gain more experience navigating the dunes. I took my time and really tried to concentrate on how the road book works here with the off-piste sections and valleys. It was nice to get that time to learn but I’m looking forward to feeling stronger and hopefully can challenge the guys at the front again in Morocco.”
Laia Sanz: “Today’s stage was very similar to yesterday for me. Although I felt a bit better in the morning, by the end of lap one I was feeling very tired and sick. It’s a shame because I would like to be able to gain more experience here in Peru but I don’t want to risk riding when I don’t feel 100 percent in case I make a mistake. I feel sorry for the team for all their hard work and hopefully I’ll be back to my best as soon as possible.”
The third and final stage of the 2018 Desafio Inca will see riders contest two loops of a 200km course close to the city of Ica in Peru.
Results – Stage 2 2018 Desafio Inca
1. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 3:55:21
Provisional Standings – 2018 Desafio Inca Rally after 2 of 3 stages
1. Andrew Short (USA), Husqvarna, 8:12:43.90