Slightly disrupted day four of the Sonora Rally 2023

Kevin Benavides - Red Bull KTM Factory Racing - 2023 Sonora Rally

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price has stormed to the top of the timesheets on a slightly disrupted day four of the Sonora Rally. Price took the lead on time by kilometer 92 and didn’t look back, increasing his advantage all the way to the finish line. Also enjoying a strong stage four, Matthias Walkner brought his KTM 450 RALLY home in fifth place, with Red Bull KTM teammate Kevin Benavides fighting back from an early issue with the road book to ultimately place 13th.
Today was Toby’s day. Disappointed to have missed out on the win yesterday, the Aussie truly put the hammer down on today’s 248-kilometer timed special to claim his first stage victory of the event. By kilometer 151, Toby had caught and passed third-placed Ricky Brabec to move into the top three and start accumulating bonus time for leading out.

The hard work and focus paid off, with Price earning 47 seconds in bonus, enough to clinch the stage win and close in to within one minute of a top-three placing in the overall standings. With one day left to race, Toby sits fourth overall but will open tomorrow’s 139-kilometre timed special, leading to the finish at San Luis.

Toby Price: “It’s been a bit of a chaotic day, there was a note in the road book where the directions didn’t match the cap heading. I didn’t have any problems, but I know a few did, so it’ll be a bit of a messy day results-wise. Still, my day has gone well, and I was pushing the whole way. I caught Ricky (Brabec) in the worse place possible – through all the fesh fesh and silt beds, so I couldn’t see nothing! After I got past him, I pushed on, just trying to do my best for the championship standings. One day to go, so I’ll keep things safe and try and stay on two wheels.”

Delivering a calculated and consistent ride on the fast and broken pistes of today’s stage worked well for Matthias Walkner. The Austrian racer maintained a top-five position all the way to the finish, where he clocked in just two minutes and 59 seconds behind teammate Price, despite not collecting any bonuses. Matthias now provisionally lies in fifth place with just Friday’s stage left to go.

Matthias Walkner: “It was strange one today – they gave us the correct drawing for one note on the road book, but the wrong cap. I managed to get through ok, but a few other riders lost time there. It was a super-fast stage today, so I didn’t feel so comfortable pushing hard, I did my best, but made sure I didn’t make any stupid mistakes. I probably lost a little time over the whole of the stage, but I’m happy to get back safely and look ahead to tomorrow.”

Despite losing time early on after the issue with an incorrect road book note, Kevin Benavides regrouped and put in an excellent final stint on the stage. As his strength and confidence builds, so does his speed, with the reigning Dakar Champion eyeing up a strong final day in Mexico tomorrow to finish his Sonora Rally on a high.

Kevin Benavides: “I felt good today – much stronger than yesterday in fact. Unfortunately, I was one of the riders who was affected by the wrong cap in the road book. I followed it correctly, but of course, the cap heading itself was wrong. After that issue, I had to reset my mind and start again. I pushed quite hard after the refueling and made up some good time. More importantly maybe, I felt really good on the bike and was able to keep to a nice, fast rhythm. I’m looking forward to tomorrow now and hopefully a good, solid finish.”

Provisional Results – 2023 Sonora Rally, Stage 4

1. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 2:33:21
2. Tosha Schareina (ESP), Honda, 2:33:44 +0:23
3. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 2:34:13 +0:52
4. Daniel Sanders (AUS), GASGAS, 2:35:01 +1:40
5. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 2:36:20 +2:59
Other KTM
13. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 2:41:44 +8:23

Provisional Standings – 2023 Sonora Rally (after 4 of 5 stages)

1. Daniel Sanders (AUS), GASGAS, 9:47:08
2. Tosha Schareina (ESP), Honda, 9:52:50 +5:42
3. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 10:01:31 +14:23
4. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 10:02:10 +15:02
5. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 10:06:02 +18:54
Other KTM
11. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 10:20:03 +32:55

About Michael Le Pard 10516 Articles
"Mr. Totalmotorcycle". Owner and Founder of Total Motorcycle, the World’s Largest Motorcycle Site with over 425 million readers since 1999. Total Motorcycle is my pride and joy and being able to reach 425 million people has been incredible and I could not have done it without the support of my visitors, readers and members...thank you so much! We are all making a difference to millions of riders worldwide.