Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Kevin Benavides has successfully completed the 2022 Rallye du Maroc in sixth place. Following a tough start to the event where Benavides opened stage one, the Argentinian fought back hard, delivering strong stage results to ultimately finish inside the top six. Toby Price, who also showed great pace during the event, unfortunately crashed out of the competition yesterday on stage four but thankfully received no serious injuries.
The 290-kilometer timed special on stage five led riders from Tan-Tan back to Agadir and the finish line. A long neutralization section of 127 kilometers in the middle of the special meant that the actual distance raced against the clock was far shorter, resulting in a relative sprint finish to the event.
Setting off third into the final stage of the race, Kevin Benavides had planned to use his position to catch the riders in front. However, one waypoint early in the timed special caused some issues for many riders, which ended up in a group of four riding together, including Benavides. As such, it was difficult for the KTM 450 RALLY racer to pull ahead and make up the time as planned.
Ultimately completing the stage in eighth place, just under six minutes down on the winner, Kevin secured his sixth-place finish overall. Despite not quite being the result he had hoped for, the former Dakar Champion was able to take many positives from the event. With one FIM World Rally-Raid Championship round remaining before the Dakar Rally in January, Benavides will be aiming to finish his 2022 season on a high before switching his focus to the big one in Saudi Arabia early next year.
Kevin Benavides: “Although I’m really happy with my riding and how the bike feels, I didn’t have the best finish to my rally today. I started third, but then early on at around kilometer 15, a group of us struggled to find one waypoint and that ended up in all of us riding together for the whole stage. After that it was really tough to make up time because you were always in someone else’s dust. After the refueling we set off again to the finish and it was more like a motocross race with us all together. All-in-all I’m happy with my performance here in Morocco. After leading out the first stage, it was tough to get that time back and it made our strategy difficult too. But over the whole rally I think I opened over 600 kilometers, which is really good experience for my navigation and speed. Next up is the race in Spain before the Dakar early next year, so the team will continue to work hard and hopefully we can get back onto the podium.”
Unfortunately crashing out of the rally on stage four, Toby Price was thankfully given the all-clear by medical staff and sustained no serious injuries. We hope to see the two-time Dakar Champion back aboard his KTM 450 RALLY as soon as possible.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing now move on to round four of the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship, the Andalucia Rally, held in Spain from October 18-23.
Provisional Results – 2022 Rallye du Maroc, Stage 5
1. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 1:37:30
2. Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 1:37:36 +0:06
3. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 1:37:47 +0:17
4. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Honda, 1:39:00 +1:30
5. Ignacio Cornejo (CHI), Honda, 1:40:05 +2:35
8. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 1:43:29 +5:59
Provisional Standings – 2022 Rallye du Maroc (after 5 of 5 stages)
1. Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 16:30:29
2. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 16:37:42 +7:13
3. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 16:41:17 +10:48
4. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 16:42:36 +12:07
5. Sam Sunderland (GBR), GASGAS, 16:45:20 +14:51
6. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 16:50:40 +20:11