Defending champion Toby Price prevailed in the bike category at the second stage of the 2017 Dakar Rally, destroying the field to boost his chances of overall glory on Tuesday.
The Australian off-road motorcycle racer was clear by over three minutes from the chasing pack, as Austrian ace Matthias Walkner placed second in San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina.
Sebastien Loeb reigned supreme in his car to win the second-stage category and leads overall as the race progresses.
The quads category second-stage win was captured by Pablo Copetti, and Martin van den Brink grabbed victory in the trucks category.
The competition's official Twitter account announced the latest standings in the main events:
Here's what the schedule looks like for the rest of the rally:
|Dakar Rally 2017: Schedule|
|Stage||Date||Bike/Quad Distance (KM)||Car/UTV Distance (KM)||Truck Distance (KM)|
|3||Wednesday, Jan. 4||780||780||757|
|4||Thursday, Jan. 5||416||416||521|
|5||Friday, Jan. 6||692||692||683|
|6||Saturday, Jan. 7||786||786||772|
|Rest Day||Sunday, Jan. 8|
|7||Monday, Jan. 9||622||622||622|
|8||Tuesday, Jan. 10||892||892||892|
|9||Wednesday, Jan. 11||977||977||977|
|10||Thursday, Jan. 12||751||751||751|
|11||Friday, Jan. 13||759||759||759|
|12||Saturday, Jan. 14||786||786||786|
Full full route information, visit the tournament's official site.
Price was in supreme form again at the famous event, sprinting away to show his championship credentials once more.
The Aussie gained a healthy lead in the general classification as he powered home over the 275-kilometre course.
It is the ninth straight year the race has visited Argentina, but this region has never been crossed by the event or its competitors.
Price proved he was best equipped to deal with the terrain, finding a path to achieve a stunning pace.
The gap created gives him a cushion before the advent of Stage 3, and he will be difficult to surpass.
The Dakar's official Twitter feed quoted the bike classification winner, who elaborated on the testing conditions:
In the car race, Loeb was excellent in his Peugeot over a route on which the Frenchman was able to focus on speed rather than navigation.
He pushed Nasser Al-Attiyah hard—who opened the road on Tuesday—to a minute behind him as well as took the lead in the general standings from the Qatari.
Carlos Sainz and Giniel de Villiers lie in wait behind the leader, but Stephane Peterhansel again lost precious time to the main drivers.
The Dakar's official Twitter feed quoted Loeb as he expressed his delight after the second stage:
Price has a natural dexterity at the Dakar and his composure and knowledge cannot be matched when he is at full throttle.
The 29-year-old is lightning fast but also navigates his bike away from danger at key moments.
Loeb is a driver who is most comfortable when he is ahead of the field and is a natural leader in the car category.
He is a multiple race champion across many disciplines and will believe the title is there for the taking in the coming days ahead.