Overall ranking leader Toby Price (KTM) again controlled the race today. The Australian followed the pace of his rivals before making a special effort on the second half of the stage. This evening, the official KTM leader increases his lead and now boasts a lead of more than 35 minutes over Stefan Svitko. Paulo Gonçalves (Honda) was forced to withdraw after a fall.
However, the duel that attracted special attention was the one opposing Antoine Meo, fourth in the general standings this morning, and Pablo Quintanilla, who was third. Separated by 1’15” at the start of the special, the two men traded blow for blow. In difficulty at one point and looking like giving in, the Frenchman raised the pace at a time when the Chilean was encountering brake problems.
This was a godsend for the five times enduro world champion, who distanced his rival by 2’38” at the finishing line. Stefan Svitko, who was fifth on today’s stage, finished 12 minutes behind the Frenchman and has legitimate reasons to start worrying. In second position in the general standings, he only has a lead of 8’23” over Meo. With two days left before the finish in Rosario, the question is obvious: can Antoine Meo catch Svitko? This will be one of the major stakes on what promises to be an exiting end to this Dakar.