Maxima Hero Image
Maxima Hero

Rallye

Price, Walkner and Sunderland Ready For Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

Posted:

Price, Walkner and Sunderland Ready For Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
2018 Dakar Champion Matthias Walkner has enjoyed well-deserved time off following his impressive victory at the beginning of the year. Photo: Future7Media
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team members Matthias Walkner, Sam Sunderland and Toby Price are rested and ready to race having fully recuperated from the long and hugely demanding Dakar Rally.

Set to return to competition this weekend the trio are in Abu Dhabi for the first round of the 2018 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.

Together with KTM Rally Team Manager Alex Doringer and KTM Rally Sport Manager Jordi Viladoms, the three-rider team will continue their 2018 race schedule with the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge - the first of a series of events throughout 2018 that ultimately lead up to the Dakar at the beginning of next year.

The team plan to race round one of the FIM championship in Abu Dhabi before heading to Morocco for the Merzouga Rally two weeks later. A break over the summer then leads into the three South American rounds of the FIM championship held in Peru, Chile and Argentina. Many of these events share similar terrain to that used in the Dakar, giving riders crucial feedback ahead of the iconic race. In October the team return to Morocco for the Rally du Maroc, their final event of 2018.

Dakar Champion Matthias Walkner has enjoyed well-deserved time off following his impressive victory at the beginning of the year. Receiving huge media attention, especially at home in Austria, the 31-year-old is now fully focused on the season ahead and, ultimately, the defence of his Dakar crown.

"It‰Ûªs good to get back into training for the new season," Walkner enthused. "I have been so busy the last couple of months. I have had so many commitments after winning the Dakar, it has been hard to think about the new season and to keep up my training routine. It has been amazing though, and I have enjoyed every minute.

"It really has been special to be able to celebrate my win with friends and family as well as the team at KTM and Red Bull. Now I am focused on the world championship and recent testing in the sand of Morocco has gone well. Abu Dhabi is a very fast rally and the results will be very close between the top-guys. I am working hard with my training and it feels great to be back on the bike again.‰Û
Price, Walkner and Sunderland Ready For Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
Sam Sunderland has been back on a bike and in training for the 2018 season following a huge crash at Dakar that saw the Brit have to withdraw while leading. Photo: Future7Media
Retiring from the Dakar was not part of the plan for 2017 winner Sam Sunderland. The Brit was leading the charge for KTM when a huge impact injured his back, forcing him out of the rally. After flying home, Sunderland was soon back on a bike and in training for the 2018 season. Putting that disappointment behind him, he has his sights set on claiming good results during the year with the ultimate goal of regaining the Dakar title early 2019.

"Training in Morocco has gone really well recently. It feels great to be back on the bike and back with the team," Sunderland said. "Being forced to retire from the Dakar was disappointing so I‰Ûªm happy to be training and thankfully I feel good on the bike with no injuries. We had a hard week in Morocco in preparation for this first rally in Abu Dhabi. I‰Ûªm really looking forward to getting back to racing and Abu Dhabi is like a home-race for me. I won there last year and hopefully I can have a good run again this year and claim another victory. There is a long season ahead leading up to the Dakar so I plan to take things step-by-step and hopefully get some good results along the way.‰Û
Price, Walkner and Sunderland Ready For Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
After a break back home in Australia, Toby Price is fit and ready to race when the Cross-Country Rallies World Championship begins in Abu Dhab this weekend. Photo: Future7Media
Towards the end of the 2018 Dakar Rally, Toby Price was on form, pushing hard and taking stage wins. His speed during the second week of the event was unquestionably fast, with the Australian well and truly putting his troublesome leg injury behind him. Enjoying some time off the bike following the Dakar, Price has kept his eye in with guest drives in both cars and trucks. With his focus now firmly on two-wheels again, the Australian is looking forward to his first race of the year in Abu Dhabi, back onboard his KTM 450 RALLY.

"I‰Ûªm really looking forward to getting back on the bike and racing in the dunes again," Price enthused. "Straight after the Dakar I had a few weeks off to let my body recover, catch up and get back to normal. As well as doing some training on the dirt bike, I rewarded myself with a bit of car racing too. I tested with Sebastian Loeb and Antoine Meo, which was a lot of fun. I also contested the Mint 400 in a truck.

"I‰Ûªm back on the bike now though training hard and getting ready for Abu Dhabi. We expect the race to be pretty tough as it‰Ûªs all ridden in the sand dunes and everyone seems to push pretty hard there. Hopefully I can get a good result and then start to look ahead to the rest of the season. The goal for me is to stay fit and healthy and be ready for Dakar next year. In the past I haven‰Ûªt been 100% going into the Dakar, so this year I want to make sure I‰Ûªm at the top of my game and do everything I can to get back on top of the podium.‰Û
Price, Walkner and Sunderland Ready For Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
KTM's potent 450 RALLY's all lined up and ready to go for the 2018 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship opener. Photo: Future7Media

Share Article:

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Tumblr
Pinterest
Reddit
Email
Print

More News: Latest Headlines

More News: Latest Headlines

Motocross

Jay Wilson Continues On His Winning Way In Japan

Enduro

Double delight for Wil Ruprecht at Enduro GP of Portugal

Motocross

Despite Showing Speed The MXGP of Sardegna Turns Into a Tough One For Mitch Evans

Motocross

Calvin Vlaanderen and Tom Vialle Master Sandy Riola Sardo to Win the MXGP of Sardegna

Speedway

Aussie Max Fricke Snares Victory At FIM Speedway GP of Poland

Enduro

Wil Ruprecht Claims EnduroGP Victory On Day One Of GP Of Portugal

Motocross

Jorge Prado Set For MXGP of Sardegna Return This Weekend

Motocross

Kay de Wolf To Miss MXGP Of Sardegna Following Cycling Injury

Motocross

Courtney Duncan To Focus On Recovery And Final Two WMX Rounds

Motocross

Shane McElrath To Fill In For Dean Wilson At Husqvarna Factory Racing

Motocross

Mattia Guadagnini To Move Up To The MXGP Class

Motocross

Romain Febvre Still Not Ready To Return To Racing

What's On This Week

FIM Hard Enduro World Championship - Round 2
Xross - Serbia
Saturday, May 21st, 2022
East Coast MX Series - Round 3
Maitland DMCC - NSW
Sunday, May 22nd, 2022
Vic Off-Road Championship - Round 6
Edenhope
Sunday, May 22nd, 2022
Vic Off-Road Championship - Round 5
Edenhope
Saturday, May 21st, 2022
Scott Hero

Featured:

MTX Sprockets and XAM Chains

Is The Motocross Future Now With Stark Varg?

Fusport XP2 Review

Under or Over – We pit Fly Racing’s Revel Race Roost Guard against the Fly Barricade Zip Vest.

Into the Night – Part Two

Into the Night – Part One

What's On This Week

FIM Hard Enduro World Championship - Round 2
Xross - Serbia
Saturday, May 21st, 2022
East Coast MX Series - Round 3
Maitland DMCC - NSW
Sunday, May 22nd, 2022
Vic Off-Road Championship - Round 6
Edenhope
Sunday, May 22nd, 2022
Vic Off-Road Championship - Round 5
Edenhope
Saturday, May 21st, 2022