Toby Price waves to the crowd before setting off on a stage of the Dakar Rally.TOBY Price refuelled and rested ahead of what he believes will be the start of thereal Dakar Rally onMonday night (AEDT).
The Hunter rider is second, three minutes and 12 seconds behind bikes leader Paulo Goncalves, heading into stage eight of 14 in the 9000-kilometre race in Argentina and Bolivia.
Competitors were resting on Sunday local time before the race resumes with stage eight fromSalta to Belen in Argentina, which features373km of connecting routes and aspecial of394km.
The field battled lightning storms,heavy rain, mud and heatin the opening week and will nowface sanddunes for the first time.
In aninterview with Austrianformermotocross racerHeinz Kinigadner, Price said hewas in a good position and ready for the second week of competition.
“We’ve had pretty much all different kinds of weather,” Price said.
“It’s been hot and cold, and raining. It’s been tough in some spots but we’re keen for the second week.
“This is when it’s going to kick off and become the Dakar Rally I think.”
Although tired, the 28-year-old from Aberglasslyn was in good spirits after coming through a first week of racing in which KTM teammate Matthias Walkner retired with a broken leg and early leader Joan Barreda Bort (Honda) dropped out of contention because of mechanical troubles.
“I’m happy to have a day off,” Price said.
“It’s good to enjoy a hamburger and I’m looking forward to enjoying a steak a bit later. I’m loading up,” he smiled.
Price was third on debut last year and is aiming to become the first n to win the race. He has claimed three stages wins so far this year after winning one in 2015.
ON TRACK: Toby Price, right, chats with five-time champion and now Dakar Rally director Marc Coma.