Rallye

Toby Price leads Morocco Rally after stage 3

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Red Bull KTM factory wrapped up stage three of the Morocco Rally, and after the marathon stage where teams are denied any support and camp overnight in the desert, Toby Price leads the overall standings by one minute 58 seconds.

Toby Price finished a close and tactical second place in Wednesday‰Ûªs 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.

After two tough days in the desert, where riders had to save tires and look after their bikes through both stages, the three-man 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‰Ûªs third stage of 390 km, including the 315 km timed special.

The start of Tuesday‰Ûªs 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," Price said.

"We navigated at the front all day and I didn‰Ûªt 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‰Ûªre looking forward to stage four. Tomorrow will be difficult but I go off second behind Kevin (Benavides) and at the moment I‰Ûªm battling with Sam so it‰Ûªs going to be a tight one right to the finish. As long as we can stay on the navigation and don‰Ûªt make any big errors it should be good.‰Û
Sam Sunderland holds second place, 1:58 min, behind Price after stage 3. Photo: Marcin Kin
With a pair of fourths Brit Sam Sunderland sits 1:58 min behind Price in the oberall standings.

"The first part of the marathon was a bit strange because after 50 km we had the military across the track waving guns at us. After that they (the organizers) neutralized the first part but the navigation for the rest of the stage was pretty heavy," Sunderland explained. "I had to ride really fast to make up for a few mistakes but I arrived okay at the end of the first part. The bike was perfect and with no problems, which was lucky because in the marathon stage we get no assistance.‰Û
Aussie Rodney Faggotter is still going and sits in 11th place outright.
Australian Rodney Faggotter finished 9th on stage three and now sits 11th overall, 40:24 mins off the lead.

"It's been a pretty good day for me," Faggotter said. "I had a good starting position and managed to pass a couple of riders that had issues right off the start. I had no navigation problems and managed to retain a good race pace until the end of the special stage. I'm happy with how things are moving on at this rally.

"I'm learning all the time and getting more comfortable as the days go on. Some of the other riders pushed hard during the first two stages and now they're getting tired. I get more familiar to the stony tracks so I can push more now. I feel good and I'm looking forward for the remaining two stages."

The Morocco Rally, the final round of the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship concludes with stage five on Friday, when the title will also be decided.

Main Photo: Toby Price
Credit: Marcin Kin


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

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