Matthias Walkner: “This was a really rough Dakar”

Matthias Walkner was delighted to finish second in the Dakar Rally - Credit: Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool

A year after exiting the event in a crash that broke his leg, Matthias Walkner was delighted to end the 2017 Dakar Rally in second place, only behind his KTM team-mate Sam Sunderland.

Walkner may have finished 32 minutes behind Sunderland in the final standings, but the Austrian was delighted to come back from his nightmare of 2016 in such a positive manner, finishing in the middle of a KTM 1-2-3.

He felt his performance on Stage 10 was the difference between finishing second and finishing off the podium completely, with both Gerard Farres and Adrien van Beveran finishing within 5 minutes of the Austrian in the final standings, and he felt the study he put in ahead of the stage paid off handsomely.

“This was a really rough Dakar so to arrive in Buenos Aires on the podium is an amazing feeling,” admitted Walkner. “I had a tough year last year, so to be here now is a dream come true.

“The hardest moment came on Stage 10 because there was the potential for my position to change on this day. I really studied the road book before the stage to hopefully get some advantage. That paid off for and it felt cool to get rewarded like this.”