At the close of day three at the 2022 Rallye du Maroc, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price lies third overall after his sixth-place result on today’s challenging stage. As the second rider into the stage, Kevin Benavides opened much of the special but was able to maintain a strong pace to finish eighth, just over six minutes down on the leader.
Totaling 322 kilometers and including a 299-kilometer timed special, stage three of the Rallye du Maroc saw riders reach the halfway point of the event. Presenting competitors with a looped stage starting and finishing at the coastal city of Laayoune, day three demanded accurate navigation and road book skills as well as the ability to pick the best lines through the broken, extremely soft dunes that made up the beginning of the route.
Toby Price enjoyed a strong ride to sixth place on today’s stage, importantly only losing three and a half minutes to the stage winner. With times tight across the top 10 riders on day three, the result may prove key as the Australian will be the sixth rider to set off into Wednesday’s stage four – the longest of the event. Lying third overall, just under five minutes down, Price will be aiming to make up as much time as possible tomorrow as he chases down the riders ahead.
Toby Price: “Another good day for me today. It was quite a tough stage, and it has been so windy here today, that made things even harder as the tracks in front of you get covered up so quickly. Because of that I ended up pretty much alone for the whole day and navigating my way through. I made a couple of mistakes but nothing major and even though I’ve dropped to third in the overall, I didn’t finish too far behind on time today and have a good start position for the long stage four tomorrow. Things are looking good, I’ll just keep on taking each day as it comes.”
Setting off in second place and catching the one rider ahead of him by kilometer 88, Kevin Benavides found himself opening much of today’s stage. Riding skillfully through the soft dunes while focusing on his navigation and making the minimum of errors, Benavides lost a little time on his rivals behind when he hit a rock and hurt his foot. However, with the stage opening out into faster tracks later in the day, the experienced Argentinian was able to forget the pain and push harder over the tough terrain to make up time and ultimately improve his position for the day. Completing the stage in eighth, just over six minutes down, Kevin also lies eighth in the provisional standings with two days left to race.
Kevin Benavides: “I’m really happy with today actually. I started really strong and pushed a lot. Early on I unfortunately hit a rock with my foot and that slowed me down a little, but I was able to regroup and get my head down again. After catching Adrien (Van Beveren) I opened some kilometers up to the refueling. After that I ended up riding in a group of four, but we made good time on the last part of the special and managed to complete the stage safely. Hopefully my foot will be ok to ride tomorrow, and I’ll be able to try and catch the guys in front.”
The 2022 Rallye du Maroc continues with day four tomorrow. The penultimate stage of the event, and the longest, it covers a total distance of 665 kilometers and includes a timed special of 346 kilometers as riders leave Laayoune and head back north to Tan-Tan.
Provisional Results – 2022 Rallye du Maroc, Stage 3
1. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 3:09:42
2. Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 3:10:07 +0:25
3. Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 3:12:20 +2:38
4. Sam Sunderland (GBR), GASGAS, 3:12:45 +3:03
5. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 3:13:01 +3:19
6. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 3:13:12 +3:30
8. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 3:15:59 +6:17
Provisional Standings – 2022 Rallye du Maroc (after 3 of 5 stages)
1. Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 11:22:51
2. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 11:26:08 +3:17
3. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 11:27:36 +4:45
4. Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 11:29:37 +6:46
5. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 11:30:07 +7:16
8. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 11:39:25 +16:34