TOBY PRICE WINS RALLY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Dakar Rally winner Toby Price became Australia's newest World Motorcycle Champion, with having clinched the 2018 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship title after a critical victory in the Moroccan Rally.
Having won two of the Rally du Maroc's five stages, the Gold Coast resident finished second on the final day of the rally, to leap-frog Chilean rider Pablo Quintanilla in the standings, and claim the championship by a six-point margin.
With a career story that could be a movie script, the KTM rider ranks alongside the likes of 5-time MotoGP champion Mick Doohan in the ranks of tough and inspiring athletes - his achievement coming just five years after he lay in a US hospital with a potentially career-ending broken neck.
The KTM rider ranks alongside the likes of 5-time MotoGP champion Mick Doohan in the ranks of tough and inspiring athletes - Price's achievement coming just five years after he lay in a US hospital with a potentially career-ending broken neck.
After recovering from the 2013 injury, he took his fourth Australian Off-Road Championship, then won another four of his record six Alice Springs-to-Finke Desert Race victories.
In 2015 he turned his attention to the gruelling Dakar Rally, and after finishing third in his first shot at the world's biggest off-road race, he returned in 2016 to win the two-week event by around 40 minutes.
Toby's journey to the 2018 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship title though, was not an easy one either. A broken femur in the 2017 Dakar Rally forced him to spend much of the year recovering from complications. His return to motorcycle competition only came a full year later at the 2018 Dakar in January, where Price again impressed, ultimately taking two stage wins and finishing in third position overall.
Riding with great consistency throughout the 2018 season has paid off for Price. Multiple stage wins as well as podiums at the Atacama Rally and Desafio Ruta 40 added to his Morocco win, and resulted in the 31-year-old becoming a worthy 2018 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion.
Toby Price: “What an amazing season – I can’t believe it. It’s been a tough one and I didn’t expect to be at the top of the list at the end of it. I had some bad luck back in Abu Dhabi at the beginning of the year, but after that every rally has gone well and I’ve finished on the podium at every round. To win the world championship with a win here in Morocco makes it all that little bit sweeter. If I am honest, I was nervous out there on the final stage today; there are no guarantees in rally racing, especially when I had to lead the stage out. This is my first world championship in any category so I am so, so happy. It’s all credit to my team and everyone at Red Bull KTM, without them behind me I wouldn’t be standing on the top step. I’m standing on the top of the world and it’s the best feeling ever.”
Jordi Viladoms – KTM Rally Sport Manager: “Winning the rally world championship is a great result for Toby and KTM. Last year was really tough with the injury to his leg. He wasn’t even fully fit when he arrived at the Dakar at the beginning of this year but he did an amazing job and took third position. This was already a great success considering what he had been through. As the 2018 season has progressed, Toby has shown more speed, more confidence and all his hard work has paid off by dominating this race and winning the championship here in Morocco. We are really happy for him and he deserves this title. We still have some time to improve even further and hope to arrive at Dakar even stronger.”
The next competitive outing for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team will be the 2019 Dakar Rally in Peru, starting January 6, 2019.
Results – Stage Five - 2018 Rally du Maroc
1. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 2:31:56
2. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 2:32:08 +12 seconds
3. Matthias Walkner (AUT), 2:32:13 +17 seconds
4. Paulo Goncalves (PRT), Honda, 2:32:56 +1:00
5. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 2:33:55 +1:59
Provisional Standings – 2018 Rally du Maroc after 5 of 5 stages
1. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 16:08:37
2. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 16:16:09 +7:32
3. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 16:25:12 +16:35
4. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Husqvarna, 16:43:29 +34:52
5. Paulo Goncalves (PRT), Honda, 16:56:51 +48:14
Final Standings – 2018 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship
1. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 91 points
2. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 85pts
3. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 75pts
4. Paulo Goncalves (POR), Honda, 70pts
5. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 56pts