The Austrian finished 45 seconds ahead of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla, and 1:13 ahead of another KTM 450 Rally factory pilot, Toby Price.With his strong results so far in 2019 Dakar, the shortest on record with only 10 stages, Price also took over the lead from Monster Energy Honda’s Ricky Brabec, who was forced to retire after his engine blew up Tuesday.Walkner took off from 10th due to his finish in stage seventh, following not only nine bikes but also two cars piloted by Dakar legends Stephane Peterhansel and Nani Roma.KTM says navigating well through the dust kicked up by the vehicles in front, as well as the fog that had descended on the stage, Walkner steadily upped his pace as the day went on to ultimately post the fastest time. With positions closing up at the top of the overall standings, Walkner now lies third, six minutes and 30 seconds behind teammate Price.“Good day for me today, I really tried to push all day long,” says Matthias Walkner. “Starting with the cars was not so bad this morning, a couple caught me on the fast pistes, but I passed them back again when we hit the dunes.“I got to the refuelling and saw that Toby had made some time so I knew I had to really go for it in the sand. I had a couple of small crashes in the fesh-fesh, it was really foggy and a lot of the time you couldn’t really see too well ahead of you. I was happy with my riding today and everything is going well so we’ll see what the next two days bring.”After nearly 30 hours of the toughest race, Price, the 2016 Dakar Champion, is now 1:03 minutes ahead of Quintanilla in the overall standings. Walkner and another factory KTM pilot, the 2017 Dakar Rally Champion Sam Sunderland, are just over 6:30 minutes behind.“I knew today had to count so I gave it everything – the wrist is really starting to sting now,” says Toby Price, who is dealing with wrist pain due to injury from a crash.“It was a long special at (225 miles) but I got through it and I’m pleased with how the whole stage went. Just two days left so I’ll get some rest tonight and attack again tomorrow. When the helmet goes on, you know I’m just going to do the best I can.”Brabec, who was in the lead and hoping to become the first American to ever win a Dakar Rally, blew up the engine in his CRF450 Rally, ending his lead with two stages remaining.“It was a really hard day. There was nothing really positive about my day, especially for the race,” says Ricky Brabec. “The coolest part was getting a helicopter ride along the beach and back. It’s heart-wrenching. Not easy.“We have to go home, take a break and come back. I’m at a loss for words. It was amazing to be on the top for the previous days. It’s really nice to have the team support me and the whole team. It felt like the vibes and the confidence in me were good. That helped me to achieve so many great days.”As for former Supercross rider Andrew Short, the American who pilots the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna FC 450 Rally is seventh overall, 40 minutes behind Walkner.The penultimate stage is another loop stage that will take riders around and back to Pisco. The riders – 82 of 149 remaining – will travel 254 miles, with 195 of those timed.