Australian Toby Price has triumphed in the fifth stage of the Dakar Rally to climb to third in the motorbike standings of the race.
The 28-year-old completed the 327-kilometre stage in four hours, three minutes and 44 seconds, overcoming French Red Bull KTM Factory teammate Antoine Meo by two minutes and 21 seconds.
Meo, however, was later relegated to eighth after receiving a five-minute penalty that enabled KTM riders, Slovnaft’s Stefan Svitko (4:06:17) and Red Bull’s Matthias Walkner (4:06:24), to finish second and third.
Riders had to contend with altitude during the gruelling stage – spanning between Jujuy in Argentina and Uyuni in Bolivia – competing at average heights of more than 3,500 metres above sea-level.
Price led at all the intermediate points throughout the day to record his second stage victory in this year’s race.
The victory left him two seconds behind Svitko, second overall, and one minute 45 seconds behind overall leader Paulo Gonclaves.
Price, from Singleton in the NSW Hunter Valley, is competing in the race for the second time after finishing third last year.
In the car section, nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb extended his overall lead by claiming his third stage.
The Peugeot driver, on debut in the race, finished the stage ahead of teammates Carlos Sainz and Stephane Peterhansel to make it consecutive trifectas for the French manufacturer.