Red Bull KTM factory rider Toby Price leads the overall standings by one minute 58 seconds after the third stage of the Morocco Rally.
Price finished a close and tactical second place in Wednesday’s stage, tucked in behind Argentine rider Kevin Benavides and trailing by only 51 seconds. He now starts second on Thursday, which relieves him of the duty of navigating to open the track for stage four.
The start of Tuesday’s stage was also not without a flavor of adventure after riders were held up by the military after the first 50 km and organizers later neutralized the first section and took the result only from the first checkpoint.
“After the holdup I put in some extra time on my tires to go flat out to make up the time, but other than that it was good,” said Price. “We navigated at the front all day and I didn’t make any navigation errors, only small things, so we got through well. Stage three today was definitely difficult with the navigation. I was glad to be at the finish line on both days and to get the marathon out of the way. The bike is in good shape and we’re looking forward to stage four. Tomorrow will be difficult but I go off second behind Kevin (Benavides) and at the moment I’m battling with Sam so it’s going to be a tight one right to the finish. As long as we can stay on the navigation and don’t make any big errors it should be good.”
After two tough days in the desert, where riders had to save tires and look after their bikes through both stages, the three-man KTM team were pleased to have the marathon stage behind them. Both days were long and exhausting, particularly Tuesday when they traveled from the ocean into the dunes some 554 km, just under 300 of which was under the clock. After a night camping in the desert they then had to tackle Wednesday’s third stage of 390 km, including the 315 km timed special.
Results Stage 2 OiLibya Rally 2016
1. Paolo Goncalves (POR), Honda, 3:40:45 h
2. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, +45 sec
3. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, +1:15 min
4. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, +2:06
5. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, +4:05
Results Stage 3 OiLibya Rally 2016
1. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 3:13:05 h
2. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, +51 sec
3. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, +1:04 min
4. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, +1:28
5. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Husqvarna, +3:00
Standings OiLibya Rally 2016 after 3 of 5 stages
1. Price, 6:55:26 h
2. Sunderland, +1:58 min
3. Benavides, +2:29
4. Quintanilla, +11:16
5. Helder Rodrigues (POR), Yamaha, +15:06