Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price has got his 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge underway with a strong ride, placing fifth on the event’s opening stage one. Combined with his third-place result from Sunday’s short prologue qualifier, Price lies third overall heading into day two.
The 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge opened with a 404-kilometer stage that saw riders leave the bivouac at Al Dhannah city and head for Qasr Al Sarab in the Liwa desert. After a 59-kilometer liaison, riders got stuck in to their first timed special – a challenging 242-kilometer route that was made up of dunes and sandy tracks.
As the ninth rider to enter the stage, Toby Price made the best use of his later start position to push right from the off. Moving up into third place on time by kilometer 39, Toby continued to attack for the entire special. Losing a couple of minutes in the closing kilometers of the stage, partly as the bonus times of the leading riders came into effect, Price ultimately brought his KTM 450 RALLY home in fifth place.
Combined with his top-three result from the rally’s prologue, Toby lies in third overall heading into day two – the first leg of the event’s marathon stage.
Toby Price: “A good day today – a little bit different to what we’ve seen in the past at this event. Although the stage was fast with lots of straights and some big gaps between the caps, the dunes threw up a few surprises with some big drops along the way. A few caught me by surprise, so that meant it was difficult to attack the whole time as you didn’t know which of the rises would be cut away. I’m feeling good, and the bike is performing well here, so we’ll keep plugging on and hopefully put in another strong day tomorrow.”
Provisional Results – Stage 1 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2023
1. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Honda, 3:00:15
2. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 3:02:15 +2:00
3. Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 3:03:27 +3:12
4. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (CHI), Honda, 3:04:31 +4:16
5. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 3:04:52 +4:37
9. Mason Klein (USA), KTM, 3:12:45 +12:30
10. Paolo Lucci (ITA), KTM, 3:14:07 +13:52
Provisional Standings – Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2023 after 1 of 5 stages
1. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Honda, 3:40:15
2. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 3:42:31 +2:16
3. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 3:45:32 +5:17
4. Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 3:45:35 +5:20
5. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (CHI), Honda, 3:47:51 +7:36
9. Mason Klein (USA), KTM, 3:53:49 +13:34
10. Paolo Lucci (ITA), KTM, 4:03:19 +23:04