2018 Dakar Rally Stage 12 Cancelled: Walkner Edges Closer to Victory

Another cancellation leaves Red Bull KTM’s Matthias Walkner one stage closer to victory in the 2018 Dakar Rally; two stages remain.

Stage 12 of the 2018 Dakar Rally was cancelled for the motorcycle class today after the race’s organizers cited safety concerns.

2018 Dakar Rally
Why is this man smiling? Because Matthias Walkner didn’t have to race in order move one stage closer to victory in the 2018 Dakar Rally. With the cancellation of Stage 12 due to safety concerns, Walkner holds a 32-minute lead wih just two stages remaining. PHOTO: RED BULL CONTENT POOL.

The decision actually came down last night, leaving the riders to move out of Fiambalá to the next bivouac in San Juan. At first, the call was simply to cancel the first part of the timed special stage after the helicopters that help to keep the competitors safe were grounded due to fog. It was also determined that the river crossings were flooded due to heavy rains. The race was the expected to resume with the second section of timed special after the liasion section to Chilecito and then Section B. Race organizers then decided to postpone the motorcycles until an hour after the departure of the trucks, which didn’t sit well with the bike competitors. Finally, the entire stage was cancelled for the motorcycles and quads.

The end result is that the overall standings remain the same as Stage 11, with Red Bull KTM’s Matthias Walkner still holding an advantage of more than 32 minutes on Monster Energy Honda’s Kevin Benavides. Red Bull KTM’s Toby Price, who won Stage 11, is third, a little more than 39 minutes out of the lead.

Tomorrow’s stage, the penultimate stage in the 2018 Dakar Rally, runs from from San Juan to Córdoba. It will feature 424 kilometers of timed special, plus 483 kilometers of liaison. It is the longest stage of the 2018 Dakar Rally.

2018 Dakar Rally, Stage 12
Fiambalá to Chilecito to San Juan, Argentina (Cancelled)

January 18, 2018

2018 Dakar Rally Overall Standings (after 12 of 14 stages)

1. Matthias Walkner (AUT)-Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team / 36 hours, 33 minutes, 37 seconds
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG)-Monster Energy Honda Team / +00:32:00
3. Toby Price (AUS)-Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team / +00:39:17
4. Gerard Farres (SPA)-Himoinsa Team / +00:49:17
5. Antoine Meo (FRA)-Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team / +00:59:05
6. Ricky Brabec (USA)-Monster Energy Honda Team / +01:18:10
7. Johnny Aubert (FRA)-GasGas Racing / +01:49:34
8. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI)-Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Rally Team / +01:53:19
9. José Ignacio Cornejo (CHI)-Monster Energy Honda Team / +02:05:57
10. Oriol Mena (SPA)-Hero Motorsports Team Rally / +02:13:07