Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price has put in another strong performance at the Rallye du Maroc to claim his second consecutive runner-up result at this year’s event. The Australian now moves into the provisional lead of the race. Frustratingly, Matthias Walkner crashed out early in the special. Although he escaped serious injury, he will play no further part in the event.
Another tough stage at the Rallye du Maroc and one that delivered over 300 kilometers of fast, rocky tracks, raced against the clock. Navigation wasn’t too much of an issue today, but the unforgiving terrain demanded full focus from all the riders.
Setting off second into today’s stage, Toby Price knew he would have to keep the pressure on in order to secure a strong result. Never falling below the top three on time throughout the 336-kilometer special, the two-time Dakar champion was able to maintain an impressive pace despite only being the second rider through the route.
Finishing just over one minute behind the eventual stage winner, when bonus times for opening the stage were added, Toby placed second overall, three minutes down. With the rally now past its halfway point, in the provisional overall standings Price takes the lead with a near-four-minute advantage and two stages left to race.
Toby Price: “Not a bad day for me today, the 330 kilometers went pretty quick, so the average speed was a lot faster. But for sure, it was really rocky out there. The bike felt really good the whole day and I was able to keep up a good speed. I did make a couple of little navigation mistakes, but on the whole everything went well. The bonus time helps, but of course to get that you have to be out front and opening the stage, which can prove really hard. All in all, I’m happy with how I’m riding, and I know I’m giving it everything, so whether I come first or second at the end, I’ll be happy that I did my best.”
The third stage of the Rallye du Maroc proved devastating for Matthias Walkner. Merely 300 meters into the special stage, a crash not only ended his chances for the day but also for the rest of the rally. While the fall left his KTM 450 RALLY significantly damaged — especially the navigation tower — thankfully, Matthias escaped major harm. He did, however, sustain an injury to his left hand. While the full extent of the injury is yet to be determined, the former world champion is optimistic about recovering fully in preparation for the Dakar Rally in January.
Matthias Walkner: “I’m really sad today because I like the Morocco rally. Unfortunately, after around three or four hundred meters I hit a big rock in the riverbed and went right over the handlebars. Even though it was a big crash, I was able to walk away just with a sore hand. I don’t think the injury will affect my hopes for the Dakar, but the Rallye du Maroc is so good for training, so I’ll definitely miss out by not completing the race here. I have to see the positive side, that I’m not more badly injured, so I’m thankful for that and will now switch my attention to January.”
Provisional Results – 2023 Rallye du Maroc, Stage 3
1. Tosha Schareina (ESP), Honda, 3:03:35
2. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 3:06:41 +3:06
3. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (CHL), Honda, 3:07:21 +3:46
4. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Honda, 3:10:33 +6:58
5. Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 3:11:33 +7:58
Provisional Standings – 2023 Rallye du Maroc (after 3 of 5 stages)
1. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 10:26:00
2. Ross Branch (BWA), Hero, 10:29:48 +3:48
3. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Honda, 10:31:09 +5:09
4. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 10:33:50 +7:50
5. Tosha Schareina (ESP), Honda, 10:33:54 +7:54