Matthias Walkner has won a challenging Stage Two of the 2018 Rally du Maroc while Toby Price finished second to maintain the overall lead.
Following the long first stage of the rally, Stage Two gave riders a slightly easier time on their machines with a short liaison leading into a 281-kilometre timed special. The terrain was just as unforgiving however with washed-out pistes and hard-pack, rocky tracks making up the majority of the stage.
Runner-up on Stage One, Matthias Walkner was the second rider to enter the timed special on day two ‰ÛÒ three minutes behind Price.
Using his experience, speed and navigation, the reigning Dakar champion closed in on the leading rider throughout the stage. Ultimately arriving at the final checkpoint just over 20 seconds behind his teammate was enough for the Austrian to claim the win by two minutes and 46 seconds. Walkner, who lies second in the provisional overall standings just 12 seconds down on Price, now has the task of opening Sunday‰Ûªs marathon stage.
‰ÛÏThat was a good stage today, navigation was very challenging," Walkner said. "I had Toby in front of me, but that made riding quite tricky because of the dust, so I was still forced to rely on my road book. A lot of the pistes are still hard to follow due to them being washed out by the rain, but I managed to complete the whole stage without making too many mistakes. We tried out some new tyres today which have performed well on the rough terrain of Morocco, so it‰Ûªs good to know we can race hard on them and they will last for 290 kilometres. I am really happy with my riding and the bike is working well, we‰Ûªll see how things go leading the stage tomorrow.‰Û