Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Matthias Walkner has successfully completed the third and final day of the 2018 Desafio Inca rally in fourth place, enough to cement his runner-up position in the overall standings. Toby Price rode a superb stage three, posting the second fastest time, closely followed by team-mate Sam Sunderland. KTM Factory Racing junior member Luciano Benavides finished the day in 16th.

The final day’s racing of the Desafio Inca again consisted almost entirely of the large sand dunes in the Peruvian desert, close to the city of Ica. The stage measured 200 kilometres in total with a 180-kilometre timed special. Unlike the two previous days of the rally, riders only faced one-lap of a looped course.

With the day’s start order decided by the results from stage two, Matthias Walkner was second away from the start. With only one lap to cover, navigation proved extremely important with most competitors riding alone for the majority of the stage. Matthias put in a great ride, making no mistakes on the tough route, ultimately catching the leading rider before the finish. Placing fourth on the stage, just three minutes behind the winner, was enough to secure second place for Matthias in the overall standings.

Matthias Walkner: “Today was definitely the most fun of the rally. We started three minutes apart, which meant we weren’t all grouped up like the previous stages. I started second so I only had one track in front and had to rely on my own navigation for most of the day. The pace was really fast, but I managed my road book well and was pleased to post a good result even though we were chased down by the guys behind. Overall, the rally has been very encouraging – with the next Dakar being held in Peru it’s good to get time on the bike and learn how to ride the dunes. Second overall has given me a lot of confidence going into Morocco, and onto Dakar next year.”

Following his tough stage two, where a GPS issue caused him to lose time to the other riders, Toby Price was back to his best on the final day. With just one-lap of the 180km timed special to catch the front-runners, Toby rode an excellent stage, ultimately posting the second fastest time. Completing the rally in ninth position was disappointing for the Australian, but the experience gained riding here will prove extremely important come the 2019 Dakar Rally next January.

Toby Price: “Day three went well, I was glad to get a good finish on the final day. Thankfully we were able to resolve the problem we had from yesterday and had a clean run through today. The overall result for the rally isn’t quite what we wanted but the goal when we came here was always to get time on the bike in the dunes and concentrate on learning the navigation through the area. From here we’ll concentrate on Morocco and hopefully get a good result at the final round of the world championship.”

Sam Sunderland, still riding injured, was forced to retire before the second lap of both stage one and two. With the final day offering a shorter, 200km single loop, Sam was able to complete the stage and continue to work on his training. Riding with Price for the majority of the day, Sunderland posted the third fastest time despite his injury.

Sam Sunderland: “I took an extra pain killer this morning and it helped me get through the day. I was able to start with Toby and it was good to be able to use him as a reference. I feel really happy about the three days here, it’s been tough but I knew from the beginning I wasn’t here to fight for the win. Just to be able to get some good kilometres on the bike is useful and it’s nice to finish off the rally with a good result today. The bike is working really well and the team have been great. I’m looking forward to getting fully fit now and back on it for Morocco.”

Continuing to learn and gain knowledge onboard his KTM 450 RALLY, Luciano Benavides rode a solid day three to post the 16th fastest time. Pleased with the experience gained at the rally, Benavides now looks forward to the final round of the 2018 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship held in Morocco in October.

Luciano Benavides: “I enjoyed today, there was a lot of riding in the dunes so I tried my best to learn as much as I could with navigation and keeping a good rhythm when riding by myself. My pace today was smooth and consistent so I think the rally has been a big success for me. I’m looking forward to Morocco now and of course, the Dakar.”

KTM Factory Racing’s Laia Sanz, who has been suffering from an illness during her time in Peru, decided not to take the start of day three. Laia hopes to be back to full fitness for the next event contested by the team – the Rally du Maroc held from October 3-9.

Results – Stage 3 2018 Desafio Inca

1. Paulo Goncalves (PRT), Honda, 1:55:08
2. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 1:57:10 +2:02
3. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 1:57:24 +2:16
4. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 1:58:09 +3:01
5. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 1:58:24 +3:34
Other KTM
16. Luciano Benavides (ARG), KTM, 2:18:58 +23:50

Provisional Final Standings – 2018 Desafio Inca Rally after 3 of 3 stages

1. Paulo Goncalves (PRT), Honda, 10:08:13
2. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 10:11:4 +2:51
3. Andrew Short (USA), Husqvarna, 10:16:37 +10:02
4. Ignacio Cornejo (CHI), Honda, 10:18:15 +10:02
5. Adrien van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 10:19:17 +11:04
Other KTM
9. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 10:37:22 +29:09
13. Luciano Benavides (ARG), KTM, 12:24:46 +2:16:33