Solid start for Luciano Benavides at Rallye du Maroc

FIM World Rally-Raid Championship leader Luciano Benavides has made a strong start to his Rallye du Maroc campaign by posting the fourth quickest time on stage one of the event. The Husqvarna Factory Racing rider currently lies fifth overall, just 11 seconds down on closest championship rival, Toby Price.

Setting off early this morning from the bivouac at Agadir, Benavides had to cover close to 300 kilometres of road liaison before reaching the start of the timed special stage. The Argentinian was the ninth rider to enter the special and immediately set about chasing down the riders ahead.

With the timed special totalling 314 kilometres and delivering a mixture of terrain, as well as some demanding navigation, Benavides chose to keep to a fast but consistent pace over the course of the stage, so as not to make any mistakes.

Luciano’s focus paid off. With some of the front runners losing time in the final kilometres, the FR 450 Rally rider was able to make up several places to ultimately finish in fourth. Combined with his result from the event’s short opening prologue, Benavides lies fifth overall, seven and a half minutes down on the provisional race leader.

Luciano Benavides: “It’s been a really tough day today. And a long day – we started really early in the morning and then rode a big liaison on the roads. The stage had a bit of everything. It was really fast at the beginning with a lot of stones, then after the refuelling the navigation got more difficult. We crossed some dunes, covered some riverbeds, yeah, it was a really long and challenging stage. I think I did a good job, I didn’t make any big mistakes, even though it was hard to focus for the whole day. I was able to find a good rhythm, and that’s so important when there are lots of different terrains and tricky navigation. I’m in a good position for tomorrow and looking forward to stage number two.”

2023 Rallye du Maroc – Stage 1 Provisional Classification

1. Ross Branch (Hero) 3:13:17
2. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 3:14:58
3. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 3:17:35
4. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 3:19:00
5. Toby Price (KTM) 3:19:59
6. Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco) 3:21:58

2023 Rallye du Maroc – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 1]

1. Ross Branch (Hero) 4:08:42
2. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 4:11:23
3. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 4:14:20
4. Toby Price (KTM) 4:16:04
5. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 4:16:15
6. Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco) 4:19:43