Toby Price slips to 2nd overall | stops to help injured rider
Rodney Faggotter 13th on stage and 11th overall
“It has been a crazy day of action, always something to tell! This morning was all going great, good pace and navigation was going well but the roadbook was missing a lot of dangers. Around the 150km mark I was starting to have my stomach turn on me and was needing to stop for a number two toilet break, and with 70km to go it was going to be a long hold, but had to stop in the special stage at 200km and go.. Quick pit stop.. Then after refuel at 219km, I come across Kevin Benavides laying on the ground after a big crash, I stopped to help him relax and get his breath back. He hit his head hard and as I finally got to talk with someone to send help, I took my eyes off him for 10 seconds and he climbed back on and took off again. Hope your okay mate, always scary to come across a fallen rider and this was my first time in a rally. After this it had shocked me a little and didn’t twist the throttle and lost time and finished 3rd, crazy day but win or lose I’ll always stop for a riders safety.”
Argentine Kevin Benavides had set out from first place this morning and opened the track in the first half of the special with a fine display of navigational skills. Unfortunately, that hard fall in the second section left the rider unconscious on the track in an area that had recently been modified and hadn’t been indicated in the roadbook. Toby Price, who HRC thanked for his gesture, was on hand to help bring the young Argentinean rider around to consciousness. Kevin was eventually able to get back onto the track and finish the special stage at a somewhat slower pace. Benavides underwent a medical check-up to make sure he is in good shape.
“Today was a really hard stage. I fell after the refuelling. I had been opening the track and was comfortably ahead. The navigation was difficult and I was doing a good job. I don’t remember where or how I fell. I only know that I got up and continued to the end without knowing how. I would like to thank Toby Price who stopped to help me and also to the race organization which reacted well. Well, these are things that happen and one has to learn from them. I’m sure that I will be back stronger than ever.”
Hélder Rodrigues managed to bring Yamaha one-step closer to the overall podium. The Portuguese rider set a good pace aboard his WR450F Rally machine right off the start and in avoiding any mistakes he reached the finish line fourth.
“It’s been a great day for me. My plan was to attack the dunes stage to try to get as close as possible to the top three. It all worked out well so now I’m fourth overall with one stage to go. Today I struggled with the dust coming from riders in front. But I pushed all the way to the finish. The bike feels great in these conditions so the plan for tomorrow is to keep pushing for the final podium. During the last couple of days we’ve raced over all kinds of terrain against the top rally riders in the world. I think it’s been a great event to help us prepare for the Dakar.”
Queenslander Rodney Faggotter was 13th on stage and is now 11th overall.
“It was a tough day in the saddle. Every day I keep learning so much and getting even more familiar with the bike. After the start I caught Hélder and we rode together for a while. Adrien and Alessandro were behind us and we all had a good pace. Soon after the refuelling point I caught Ricky Brabec. Unfortunately, he made a mistake and I went after him. We went off track and we both lost a good couple of minutes there. When I got back on the right track I decided not to push hard. I took my time, stayed focused on my navigation and rode conservatively to the finish. For tomorrow I just want to have a solid ride to finish this rally on a high.”
Paulo Goncalves retired from the rally due to a knee injury.
“Yesterday I wasn’t going to concede any time, but the day didn’t start well and I twisted my knee when I put my foot down for a support. I kept going but at kilometre 140 the bike cut out. After visiting the physio yesterday afternoon, today I set out to clock up some kilometres but I saw I was going to be unable to endure the whole stage because of the pain. It is a shame but that’s the way the races are with many difficult situations. And as we have done on previous occasions, we will return more motivated than ever.”
Provisional results Stage 4 – OiLibya Rally du Maroc (Provisional)
- Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 03:38:00
- Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 03:38:16, +00:16
- Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 03:41:21, +03:21
- Hélder Rodrigues (POR), Yamaha, 03:42:25, +04:25
- Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 03:44:36, +06:36
Provisional Standings after Stage 4 – OiLibya Rally du Maroc (Provisional)
- SUNDERLAND Sam GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM 10:35’40
- PRICE Toby AUS KTM Factory Racing Team KTM +01’07
- QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +15’48
- RODRIGUES Helder POR Yamaha Motor Europe Yamaha +17’17
- DE SOULTRAIT Xavier FRA Yamaha Racing Yamaha +22’50
- BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Team HRC Honda +23’37
- VAN BEVEREN Adrien FRA Yamaha Motor Europe Yamaha +28’23
- WALKNER Matthias AUT KTM Factory Racing Team KTM +31’20
- PEDRERO Joan SPA Sherco TVS Rally Factory Sherco +32’28
- RENET Pierre-Alexandre FRA Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +38’43
- FAGGOTTER Rodney AUS Yamaha, 11:35:23, +59:43