Strong results for KTM riders on stage four of the OiLibya Rally of Morocco

5th Round Rally 2017 – OiLibya Rally (MAR)
Antoine Meo - KTM 450 RALLY - OiLibya Rally 2017

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Antoine Meo was seventh away this morning, leaving the bivouac at Erg Lihoudi on the second of the rally’s marathon stages. The Frenchman, now really gelling with his new bike, chased down the riders in front of him to finish the special stage fourth, in a time of just under two hours.

His results over the last couple of stages move him up to fifth in the provisional overall standings. With the last, short 232km final stage five remaining, another good ride could see the five-time Enduro World Champion finish on the podium.

Meo: “The most encouraging thing for me is that my navigation is coming along really well. Apart from a couple of small mistakes everything has been straightforward. My feeling on the bike is really good - I’m so happy for the team because it seems we have taken a big step forward with the new 450 RALLY.

“Things have been a little difficult, due to the changes to the rules and results, but for me this was always going to be my warm-up for the Dakar. Considering how everything has gone, I’m really pleased.”

Second away this morning, Matthias Walkner was always going to be at a slight disadvantage. Yet despite being chased down by the riders behind him, he rode another solid stage to finish eighth. His consistency throughout the rally so far places the Austrian second overall with a healthy advantage over third.

Walkner: “The marathon stage has gone really well for me. Finishing second yesterday was great, and although I only managed eighth today, the gaps are really tight so I haven’t lost too much time. I think it’s evident from my results on this rally that I’m feeling far more at home on the new bike – I am able to push more safely than before. Tomorrow on the final stage, I plan to bring the bike home safely and hopefully finish on the podium.”

KTM Factory Racing’s Laia Sanz has shown incredible pace throughout the rally and stage four was no different. After setting off eighth the Spaniard only dropped one position come the finish. With the lighter, better handling bike really suiting the multiple world champion, Sanz is really enjoying her rally in Morocco.

Sanz: “I am really happy. Not just for the results but for how I feel on the bike and the confidence it gives. It’s been a while since my results have been this consistent and so near the top of the standings. The times are really close so hopefully with a good ride on the final day tomorrow I can hold my place in the overall or even improve.”

Laia’s team-mate, Luciano Benavides continued to improve. Working on his navigation and gaining confidence on his bike he finished 17th today to also hold 17th in the overall standings.

Benavides: "Yesterday was the best stage for me, the big dunes really suited my riding and I finished 12th which was great. Today I had a small crash, but luckily didn't hurt myself or lose too much time. Now I just want to focus on the final stage and hopefully get a good result."

The fifth and final stage of the 2017 OiLibya Rally of Morocco will be held in the dunes surrounding Erfoud. The two-part special totals 188.15km with the complete stage measuring 232.06km. An undulating final 20km will require caution and good navigational skills before the riders reach the finish.

Provisional Results Stage Four – 2017 OiLibya Rally of Morocco

1. Adrien van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 1:55:20
2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 1:57:28 +2:08
3. Pablo Quintanilla, (CHI), Husqvarna, 1:58:02 +2:42
4. Antoine Meo (FRA), KTM, 1:58:35 +3:15
5. Lorenzo Santolino Sanchez (ESP), Sherco, 1:59:19 +3:59
Other KTM
8. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 2:00:03 +4:43
9. Laia Sanz (ESP), KTM, 2:00:34 +5:14
17. Luciano Benavides (ARG), KTM, 2:10:30 +15:10

Provisional Standings – 2017 OiLibya Rally of Morocco after 4 of 5 stages

1. Pablo Quintanilla, (CHI), Husqvarna, 8:05:35
2. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 8:12:24 +6:49
3. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 8:19:33 +13:58
4. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 8:26:02 +20:27
5. Antoine Meo (FRA), KTM, 8:27:54 +22:19
Other KTM
8. Laia Sanz (ESP), KTM, 8:41:00 +35:25
17. Luciano Benavides (ARG), KTM, 9:40:57 +1:35:22

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