Australian Toby Price took the lead in the Dakar Rally motorcycle standings at the halfway point on Friday with Spaniard Joan Barreda securing his third stage win of the event in Saudi Arabia.
Two times champion Price, on a KTM, moved two minutes and 16 seconds clear of Honda’s Argentine overnight leader Kevin Benavides at the end of a shortened 348km sixth stage from Al Qaisumah to Ha’il.
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The stage was reduced by 100km, with a deferred start, after a significant number of competitors suffered navigational problems on Thursday.
Honda rider Barreda finished 13 seconds clear of Botswana’s Ross Branch on a Yamaha with Australian rookie Daniel Sanders third.
Price finished the stage seventh with Benavides, who broke his nose in a fall on Thursday, losing nearly 10 minutes to Barreda.
Defending champion Ricky Brabec of the US was 13th overall.
Saturday is a rest day with the 12-stage rally finishing in Jeddah on January 15.
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