Tuesday, October 9
The spoils at the 2018 Rallye du Maroc have been snapped up by a pair of offroad racers on course for more success at the upcoming Dakar Rally. Sand racing specialist Nasser Al-Attiyah was in magnificent form all week behind the wheel of his Toyota Hilux to win the car category. Top honours in the bike race have gone to Toby Price as he escaped the attentions of a fellow Red Bull KTM Factory Team biker.
Qatari racer Nasser Al-Attiyah and French co-driver Mathieu Baumel have concluded their Dakar preparations in the best possible way. The duo’s win hands Al-Attiyah his fifth consecutive Rallye du Maroc success as he now looks to plot a course to victory at next January’s Dakar.
“It’s unbelievable that we’ve been able to win our fifth consecutive Rallye du Maroc. I’m so happy with our performance here and our new car has been really strong all week.” – Nasser Al-Attiyah
Polish driver Kuba Przygonski and his Belgian co-driver Tom Colsoul had to settle for the runners-up position in Morocco, but they still have plenty to celebrate. The pair’s result was enough to see them crowned 2018 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup champions. Winning this prestigious championship will see the MINI John Cooper Works Rally crew installed as among the favourites to taste glory at the Dakar.
“We’re pleased with our performance this week. We were able to compete on a level footing with guys who have won the Dakar.” – Kuba Przygonski
There was also a place on the podium for the X-raid MINI JCW Team on their first competitive outing. Frenchmen Cyril Despres and Jean-Paul Cottret recovered from a navigation error in the middle of the race to recover their spot in the overall rankings.
“We won a special stage and the car is going well. It has been good training for the Dakar in January to have been here this week.” – Cyril Despres
The second MINI John Cooper Works Buggy in the race in the hands of Spaniards Carlos Sainzand Lucas Cruz recovered from mechanical issues to win the fifth and final stage.
In the bike race a display dominance on the dunes from the Red Bull KTM Factory Team brought home the big prizes. 2016 Dakar winner Toby Price of Australia has two new trophies after his trip to Morocco. His win at the Rallye du Maroc has helped him secure the 2018 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.
“We’re stoked because the rally has gone really well for us. It was a close fight for the World Championship and it feels awesome to get that one over the line.” – Toby Price
Price’s KTM team-mate Matthias Walkner of Austria finished second overall after pushing his fellow Dakar winner all the way. The third member of the team, British biker Sam Sunderland, can also be pleased with his performance after battling back from a rear wheel problem early in the race.
“I can feel my own performance improving from race to race and this is how I want to be before the Dakar.” – Matthias Walkner
With race wins, world championships and podium positions achieved in Morocco the mood within the Red Bull Desert Wings squad is sky-high going into the upcoming Dakar Rally. The action in South America gets started on January 6, 2019 with two weeks of desert racing scheduled to take place in Peru.
We’ll be following the high-speed action every step of the way and can’t wait to see how the drama on the dunes plays out.
Fresh images, clips and stories on the X-raid MINI JCW Team: www.redbullcontentpool.com/XraidMINI
There’s more from our Red Bull Desert Wings on the Red Bull Content Pool here.
Rallye du Maroc final classification – Top 3
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) Toyota 16:38:28
2. Kuba Przygonski (POL) MINI Rally +16:41
3. Cyril Despres (FRA) MINI Buggy +33:57
Rallye du Maroc final classification – Top 3
1. Toby Price (AUS) KTM 16:08:37
2. Matthias Walkner (AUT) KTM +07:32
3. Ricky Brabec (USA) Honda +16:35
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “It’s unbelievable that we’ve been able to win our fifth consecutive Rallye du Maroc. The stages here in Morocco have been really hard, just like they always are. We had days with over 300 kilometres of racing and we were the first car on the road a couple of times because of our stage wins.”
“I’m so happy with our performance here and our new car has been really strong all week. We have identified some things that we can still improve before we arrive in South America next year to race the Dakar.”
Kuba Przygonski: “We’re so happy to win the World Cup here. We’re pleased with our performance this week. We were able to compete on a level footing with guys who have won the Dakar. We got ourselves a stage win and we were really pushing all week.”
Cyril Despres: “This was the first race together for Jean-Paul and myself and in a new car so we didn’t expect too much of ourselves. We had some trouble with navigation on one stage but overall we can be pleased with our performance. We won a special stage and the car is going well. It has been good training for the Dakar in January to have been here this week.”
Sven Quandt, Team Principal of X-Raid: “First of all I congratulate Kuba and Tom for winning the World Cup. Both have been doing a great job all year and have achieved a great result. I’m curious to see how they do in the Dakar and imagine that they could spring a surprise.”
“The MINI John Cooper Works Buggy now has a year of development behind it and we have the speed to compete at the front. We have learned a lot here in Morocco about the durability of the vehicle and we still have a bit of homework to do. However, we’re satisfied with the performance of both buggies and Cyril can be pleased with his result.”
Toby Price: “We’re stoked because the rally has gone really well for us. It was a close fight for the World Championship and it feels awesome to get that one over the line. We pieced together each day pretty well and only got lost on day three a little bit. The crew has been amazing all week, my mechanic Joe has done a top job every day. It feels good to repay the team’s hard work with a win. This is going to give us a big shot of confidence ahead of the Dakar.”
Matthias Walkner: “The feeling on the bike, navigation and the way the team worked all week was good at this rally. Second place here is a fine result and is a nice way to start the training period ahead of the Dakar. I can feel my own performance improving from race to race and this is how I want to be before the Dakar.”
Sam Sunderland: “I’m really happy for Toby to win the championship. My own race was OK, but unfortunately I had problem with my rear wheel on day two that ended my chances of winning the rally. I was feeling confident on the bike throughout the stages and this is a good sign that we’re where we need to be going into the Dakar.”