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Kevin Benavides Sets the Pace as Merzouga Rally Gets Underway

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Kevin Benavides Sets the Pace as Merzouga Rally Gets Underway
Monster Energy Honda Team'a Kevin Benavides was quickest in the prologue for the Merzouga Rally. Photo: HRC
Monster Energy Honda Team's Kevin Benavides lead the way as a brief five-kilometre prologue kicked off the action, KTM's Toby Price was second with Paulo Goncalves third.

With the mandatory administrative and technical scrutineering behind them, riders moved on to the curtain-raising event and then the short prologue.

The top fifteen finishers get to choose their starting positions for tomorrow‰Ûªs first full stage. Over the course of the day competitors will have to tackle some 206.71 kilometres of special stage.

"I felt good and confident on the bike and I was quick in this short five-kilometre prologue," Benavides said. "I think it is important, as it‰Ûªs always good to start any race well. Let's see how tomorrow's first stage plays out."
Kevin Benavides Sets the Pace as Merzouga Rally Gets Underway
Australian Toby Price is hoping to have a bot more luck than he did at the opening round, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Photo: Marcin Kin
Following his strong performance at the opening round of the 2018 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship in Abu Dhabi, Toby Price has come into the Merzouga Rally recharged and looking for a top result. Second fastest by just three seconds, the 2016 Dakar Champion will enjoy a good start position for tomorrow‰Ûªs stage one and aim to chase down the leaders.

"That was all good today," Price said. "I started towards the back of the pack, kept to a good pace and everything went really well. My mechanic has done a fantastic job on the bike and I feel good. I‰Ûªm looking forward to seeing what the Merzouga Rally has on offer for us this week.‰Û
Kevin Benavides Sets the Pace as Merzouga Rally Gets Underway
Defending World Rally Champion and current championship leader Pablo Quintanilla will have eighth pick of for his starting position.
Provisional Results Prologue Stage ‰ÛÒ 2018 Merzouga Rally
1 Benavides Kevin - Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 5'25
2 Price Toby - Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +0'03
3 Goncalves Paulo - Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +0'17
4 Pedrero Joan - Sherco TVS Rally Factory Sherco +0'20
5 Santolino Lorenzo - Sherco TVS Rally Factory Sherco +0'21
6 Sanz Laia - KTM Factory Racing Team KTM +0'24
7 Caimi Franco - Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +0'26
8 Quintanilla Pablo - Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +0'30
9 Svitko Stefan - Slovnaft Team KTM +0'30
10 Brabec Ricky - Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +0'31
11 Cornejo Jos̩ Ignacio - Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +0'33
12 Cerutti Jacopo - Moto Racing Group - MRG Husqvarna +0'37
13 Mena Oriol - Hero Motorsports Team Rally Hero +0'39
14 Short Andrew - Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +0'42
15 Duplessis MartÌ_n - Sherco TVS Rally Factory Sherco +0'50

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