If 7 is a lucky number what can be said about the 17? That’s the number of consecutive victories Red Bull KTM Factory Team has claimed on Dakar, probably the toughest rally on the planet.
Mathias Walkner finished Saturday's 120km final stage as second, but it was enough for the Austrian to claim a maiden Dakar win for himself and a new triumph for KTM.
Runner-up to teammate Sam Sunderland last year, Walkner won only one stage en route to the overall honours in 2018. But it was that very stage – the January 16 run from Salta to Belen – that proved crucial to his aspirations.
The Austrian was one of two frontrunners to avoid getting badly lost and losing lots of time on the day, and inherited a huge lead. Walkner has unquestionably put in a champion’s performance at this year’s event – the 40th edition of the Dakar Rally. He has ridden intelligently from the very first stage, finding the right balance between out-and-out speed and error-free navigation. Stage 10 was again a game-changer in the rally with Walkner ending the day with an almost 30-minute advantage over his nearest competitors.
Read more about the race here: http://www.ktm.com/news/int/racing/matthias-walkner--ktm-win-2018-dakar-rally/
Dakar 2016 champion Toby Price and completed the podium of the marathon 23 minutes behind fellow KTM rider Walkner. Their teammate Antoine Meo and privateer Gerard Farres made it four KTM riders in the top five.
So, to win on a Dakar is in no way just a lucky achievement. It’s a precisely planned and executed effort, putting together different pieces into a big puzzle. Passion, technical knowledge, desire, resistance, and ultimate performance all have to be synchronized all the way to the finish line.
Adria is a big part of this puzzle, providing rest and sleeping accommodation for the KTM riders and members of the support team with Matrix and Sonic vehicles. Adria motorhomes on Dakar are standard with zero modifications, straight off the Adria Mobil production line, fitted with just some accessories and a spare set of tyres. Finishing the demanding trip in extreme conditions usually with zero problems is another real proof of the quality of Adria construction.
We are really proud of our world-class partners, KTM, and congratulate them on another win, the majestic 17th!
Provisional Final Standings – 2018 Dakar Rally
1. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 43:06:01
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 43:22:54 +16:53
3. Toby Price (AUT), KTM, 43:29:02 +23:01
4. Antoine Meo (FRA), KTM, 43:53:29 +47:28
5. Gerard Farres (ESP), KTM, 44:07:05 +1:01:04
9. Daniel Oliveras Carreras (ESP), KTM, 45:43:21 +2:37:20
12. Laia Sanz (ESP), KTM, 46:02:03 +2:56:02