Rally du Maroc Final Results: Toby Price finishes fourth overall, Andrew Short claims victory | News
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price has won the fifth and final stage of the 2019 Rally du Maroc to finish fourth overall.
Totalling 456.84 kilometres, stage five of the Rally du Maroc took riders north from their bivouac near Erfoud to the host city of Fes. Lying fifth overall after day four, Price came into the short, final timed special with eight minutes to make up on the leaders. The New South Welshman was the 15th rider to enter the stage and although the start position would often prove to be an advantage, Price would still have to catch and pass several riders ahead in order to make up time. Pushing hard, right from the start, he gained on the leaders with every kilometre. Unfortunately, a small crash resulted in the reigning Dakar Champion losing too many seconds and despite pushing on for the rest of the stage to ultimately top the day’s standings, he was unable to make up enough time to take the event win. Fourth overall, Price now looks ahead to the 2020 Dakar Rally and the defence of his title.
“It hasn’t been a bad rally for me, I only just missed out on the podium, which is frustrating, but it’s been really good training,” said Price. “I knew I had to push really hard on that last stage and was making up good time but then had a small crash and gave myself a bit of a stiff neck. I missed out on the podium by just seven seconds but all-in-all I’m pleased with how I rode. Navigation was really tricky here and we had to learn to ride with the minimum of information. I’m hoping that will put us in a good position for January and the Dakar Rally.”
Leading the overall standings going into the final day of racing, Short knew he would still have to attack the 168-kilometre timed special to defend his position from the riders behind. A crash early on in the stage couldn’t slow the American’s progress and despite the added pressure of being one of the first riders on track the Husqvarna FR 450 Rally mounted rider put in another excellent ride to complete the stage in fifth.
“I can’t believe it – it doesn’t seem real right now,” said Short following his victory. “My main goal coming to Morocco was to finish second in the championship, but to take the win feels unreal. I was second at the Silk Way, which was huge for me but there were a few of the top riders missing. Now all the guys are here at this event getting ready for Dakar and to take the win with such stiff competition is amazing. I couldn’t have done it without the support of the team and the opportunity they have given me over the last couple of years.”
Besides Price, there were three more Australians competing in Rally du Maroc. Mark Davidson, Ben Young and Troy O’Connor all raced for Duust Rally Team.
Mark Davidson retired from the race early into Stage 2 with injuries to his ribs from a crash. Ben Young finished 38th in Stage 5 and Troy O’Connor was 33rd in the final stage.