Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price has claimed victory at the 2023 Rallye du Maroc. Giving his all to win the final round of this year’s FIM World Rally-Raid Championship, Toby’s result wasn’t quite enough to secure him the rally-raid title. The Australian ultimately finished in second place in the overall championship standings, just four points behind eventual winner Luciano Benavides.
With the championship at stake as well as the overall race result, Price delivered another impressive performance on the short 157-kilometer stage five of the Rallye du Maroc. Third into the stage, the Australian was able to navigate cleanly through the iconic Merzouga dunes of the Moroccan Sahara Desert to bring his KTM 450 RALLY home in sixth place.
Over the course of this year’s Rallye du Maroc, Price has put in day after day of strong performances to take the win by an impressive three minutes. However, with closest rival Luciano Benavides securing the runner-up result, despite his best efforts, Toby had to settle for second in the championship.
2023 has been a year of mixed fortunes for Toby, but the two-time Dakar Champion has carried his fight all the way to the final round. Second at the Dakar Rally, missing out on the win by just 44 seconds to Red Bull KTM teammate Kevin Benavides, Price then took the world championship lead with third place at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. A fourth place at the Sonora Rally saw him extend that lead before an unfortunate technical issue at the Desafio Ruta 40 cost him time and his championship advantage.
Knowing he had to win at the Rallye du Maroc, Toby gave it everything and came out on top. Disappointed not to have taken the title, but happy with his performances throughout the year, Price now looks ahead to the 2024 Dakar Rally where he will challenge for his third victory at the world’s toughest rally-raid.
Toby Price: “Yeah, It was a really good stage! I had one little mishap but other than that I’m happy to have won the round here in Morocco. The championship is a hard one to swallow, we put up a good fight and did everything we could but 2023 just hasn’t been the greatest season for us. I’m happy in the fact that I never gave up and put in 100 percent right to the finish. I’ll take a little time now to get some rest but then we’re soon looking ahead to the Dakar in January. For sure, it’s going to be another tough one, but I’m feeling good, the bike is great, and I’ll do my best as always.”
Matthias Walkner, who was forced to withdraw from the Rallye du Maroc after his crash on stage three, and Kevin Benavides will both return to FIM World Rally-Raid Championship action alongside Toby at the upcoming Dakar Rally in January.
Andreas Hölzl – KTM AG Rally Team Manager: “Toby rode an excellent race to take the win here in Morocco. He really has shown incredible pace all season. With the fight for the championship going down to the final round and in fact, the final stage, I’m really proud of what Toby has achieved. Especially as he was struggling at the beginning of the rally after hurting himself before the event. His speed and experience have really shone through, and he undoubtedly deserved the race win here today. The whole Red Bull KTM team have done an amazing job this season and now, with the Dakar less than two months away, we will switch focus to that and continue to push and improve.”
Provisional Results – 2023 Rallye du Maroc, Stage 5
1. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Honda, 1:49:17
2. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 1:50:41 +1:24
3. Tosha Schareina (ESP), Honda, 1:52:51 +3:34
4. Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 1:52:53 +3:36
5. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 1:53:15 +3:58
6. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 1:54:05 +4:48
Provisional Standings – 2023 Rallye du Maroc (after 5 of 5 stages)
1. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 15:56:43
2. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 15:59:43 +3:00
3. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Honda, 15:59:55 +3:12
4. Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 16:01:27 +4:44
5. Tosha Schareina (ESP), Honda, 16:05:23 +8:40
Final standings – 2023 FIM World Rally-Raid Championship
1. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 100 points
2. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 96 pts
3. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 76 pts
4. Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 58 pts
5. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Honda, 55 pts