Hunter Dakar champion Toby Price leads the 2019 Dakar Rally by one minute going into the final leg.
Battling pain from a fractured bone in his wrist since the first leg of 10, Price finished fifth on stage nine but critically just one second separated him and chief rival Chilean Pablo Quintanilla.
Price is poised to regain the title he won in 2016 when he made history as the first Australian to win the Dakar Rally.
Going into the final day, Price has a 1 minute, 2 second lead over Quintanilla and is 6 min; 35 sec ahead of his Red Bull KTM teammate Austrian Matthias Walkner.
Barring disaster the three riders will fill the podium, with American Andrew Short fourth 40 min; 01 sec behind Price.
”I got through stage nine today where we had the mass-start. There was no chance to make up any time or lose time really, I just had to stick with the group.
“Tomorrow is only a 100-kilometre stage, but I think it’s going to feel more like 300.
“ We're in for a crazy end to the toughest Dakar I've ever raced.
“The boys are really going to up their pace and all I can do is try my best once more and try to stay with them.
“If I can get through tomorrow and finish on the podium, I’ll be more than happy.”
Stage eight proved pivotal in Price’s campaign. He started third overall more than eight minutes off the lead but saw his opposition fall by the wayside and emerged as leader.
Reflecting on the critical stage Price said: “I knew today had to count so I gave it everything – the wrist is really starting to sting now.
Price finished third but was able to leapfrog overnight leader American Ricky Brabec and Frenchman Adrien van Beveren.
Stage 10, which finishes in Lima, is 359km long, with a 112km timed section. It return
TOBY PRICE: Red Bull KTM Factory Team 28H 53' 08'' Pen: 00H 01' 33''
PABLO QUINTANILLA: Rockstar Energy Husqvarna + 00H 1' 03''
MATTHIAS WALKNER: Red Bull KTM Factory Team +00H 6' 35” Pen: 3’ 00”
ANDREW SHORT: Rockstar Energy Husqvarna + 00H 40' 01''
XAVIER DE SOULTRAIT: Yamalube Yamaha + 00H 47' 44'' Pen: 1’ 00”
JOSE FLORIMO: Monster Energy Honda +01H 05’ 45” Pen: 15’ 00”
LUCIANO BENAVIDES: Red Bull KTM Factory Team + 01H 05’ 50''
ORIOL MENA: Hero Motorsports Team + 01H 49' 51''
SAM SUNDERLAND: Red Bull KTM Factory Team + 01H 10’ 15” Pen: 2’ 00”
DANIEL JAGER: MEC HRC + 02H 21' 51'' Pen: 02' 00''
ADRIEN VAN BEVEREN: Yamalube Yamaha + 00H 9' 54''