PRICE IS RIGHT FOR GOLD
Toby Price finally added an FIM gold medal to his impressive list of off-road honours in 2018, claiming the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship after overhauling 2016 and 2017 champion Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) in a thrilling final round in Morocco.
Price had scored several stage wins throughout 2018 but went into the Rally du Maroc looking for his first overall victory of the campaign, knowing that’s what it would probably take to overturn Quintanilla’s eight-point advantage.
The season had started with mixed fortunes for the Australian, who won the opening test at the first round in Abu Dhabi only to crash on the second stage, costing him over half an hour while he made repairs. The next day saw Price wait with an injured rider until medical assistance could arrive and even though he was given the lost time back he ended the rally seventh, whilst the Chilean opened his title defence with a commanding victory.
With the Qatar Cross-Country Rally not supported by the factory teams, Polish youngster Maciej Giemza (KTM) claimed the win and the championship lead and after success for 2018 runner-up Kevin Benavides (Honda) at the Atacama Rally in Chile and Paulo Gonçalves (Honda) in Argentina - with Price taking the runner-up spot in both – the chase for the title going into Morocco was wide open.
After winning the prologue and the Marathon stage, second place on the final test was enough to secure the rally victory and the title for Price, with Quintanilla unable to do better than fourth overall. Price’s triumph in Morocco came four years to the day of his maiden international rally at the same event in 2014.
1 World title – 2018