Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price is ready to race the 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Fresh from his runner-up finish at the Dakar Rally, Price comes into this second round of the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship looking to secure a solid result and keep his fight for the 2023 world title firmly on track. Unfortunately, winner of this year’s Dakar, Kevin Benavides, had a crash during the shakedown for the ADDC, which resulted in a broken leg, ruling him out of this year’s event. Matthias Walkner will also miss round two as he recovers from the wrist injury sustained during the Dakar.
Taking place just over one month after the Dakar Rally, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge looks set to test all riders once again with its mixture of technical navigation and long days racing through the dunes of the Liwa Desert. Made up of a short, six-kilometer prologue, followed by five tough days in the saddle, this year’s ADDC will see competitors cover over 2,000 kilometers in total, with close to 1,300 kilometers raced against the clock.
After taking the fight for Dakar Rally victory right down to the very last stage at this year’s race, Toby Price comes into the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge keen to build on his podium result from round one and put himself in a good position to fight for the overall world title at the end of the five-round season.
Feeling fit and happy to be back racing his KTM 450 RALLY through the desert, Toby has his eyes firmly fixed on success in the United Arab Emirates.
Toby Price: “After a really strong start to the year, things are looking pretty good for Abu Dhabi. It’s been about four weeks since Dakar so I’m really keen to get back on the bike and back racing. It’s not much of a break after what was such a long and intense opening round to the season, but I’m feeling good and looking forward to getting started. I’ve had a little time to get reacquainted with the KTM 450 RALLY, and we know we’ve got a good motorcycle. We just need things to fall into place now and see what the race will bring.”
Also keen to carry his winning momentum into the ADDC, Kevin Benavides looked on good form ahead of the event. Unfortunately, while testing his KTM 450 RALLY during the shakedown, a crash in the dunes resulted in the 34-year-old suffering a broken femur. Undergoing a successful surgery in Dubai, Benavides is expected to make a fast and full recovery and hopes to be back racing again soon.
Red Bull KTM's Matthias Walkner is still recovering from the wrist injury he sustained early on during the Dakar Rally. The Austrian rider hopes to be back racing at round three of the world championship in Mexico at the end of April.
The 2023 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge begins on Sunday, February 26 with a short prologue, followed by five full days of racing in the iconic rolling sand dunes of the area, close to the city. The race concludes on March 3, after covering over 2,000 kilometers.