Stage four results from the 2023 Rallye du Maroc where Luciano Benavides has bounced back with the day win, setting up a showdown for the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship with Toby Price.

Just 152 kilometres of timed special stand between either the Rally du Maroc race leader Toby Price or today’s stage four winner Luciano Benavides and the 2023 FIM World Rally-Raid World Championship title.

152km is quite short for these guys and with just 3km of liaison – the final stage heads out and back from the Merzouga bivouac – meaning it will basically be a sprint race for the title.

With a healthy lead overall, Price needs to just bring it home while all eyes will be on Benavides and the marauding pack lead by Pablo Quintanilla who could still play a crucial role in the outcome of this season’s title chase.


Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Benavides turned on the gas today, doing what he had to do to keep his title hopes alive after Price’s impressive run this week in north Africa.

“Today has been intense from start to finish.” Says Benavides. “I knew I had a good start position, but it wasn’t going to be easy to make up time on the guys ahead who were earning bonus time. I just kept my head down and did my best all the way through the special, especially in the final kilometres through the dunes. Tomorrow is the final day of the rally – the final day of the season in fact – and things are so close at the top of the standings. All I can do is give everything on the last stage. Whether I win or not, I know I will have tried my best.”

“One day left, I’m all in!”

Benavides climbed from fourth to third overall which means virtual championship points are equal between the pair. If the classification remains the same tomorrow at the end of the final stage Benavides would be crowned champ as tie-breaker rules come into play meaning his best results this year count higher than Price’s. The Red Bull KTM rider extended his overall lead in Morocco today, with third on the stage, and is doing all he can do.

“It was definitely a long day out there today.” Explained Toby. “I had a good day on the whole, I did make a couple of little navigation errors, but was able to fix them pretty quickly and didn’t lose too much time. It’s the last day tomorrow and things in the championship fight are getting really close. It looks like my issue in Argentina might come back to haunt me. All I can do here in Morocco is keep on fighting and let the race come to me. One day left, so I’m all in!”


How will final stage pan out? 

However, things ain’t that simple (ever) in rally. Victory on the penultimate stage means Benavides must lead the way tomorrow with Price starting just a handful of minutes behind him. Both can benefit from the bonus points system – time awarded to the leading riders so long as they stay ahead of the chasing pack – but leading obviously brings its pitfalls as each rider in turn lays down a marker in the sand.

Add into the equation the four Honda riders hunting Luciano down with Pablo Quintanilla, who’s sat in P3 for much of this week so far, is just a minute and a half back and could still play a role here.

None of this is to ignore the fact that Ross branch is having perhaps his best-ever ride for Hero Motorsports in Morocco. The Botswanan is second overall but with just a 30 seconds cushion over Benavides in third things are close.

Lorenzo’s bushcraft

Hats off to Lorenzo Santolino today who employed some typical rally bushcraft to keep his Sherco in the race. The former enduro rider was flying this morning but came to a halt when one of the rocks race organisers warned of today bent his rear sprocket.

Santo turned it around using those rocks as tools to bend the sprocket back into some sort of shape and carry on. Unfortunately, that puts him outside the top 10 after he lost more than one hour with the repair.


In Rally2 class Michael Docherty claimed the stage win by just three seconds from his BAS KTM teammate Bradley Cox. It helps Cox extend his overall class lead to 14m16s ahead of Romain Dumontier who was third today ahead of compatriots Jean-Loup Lepan and Mathieu Dovèz.

EnduroGP Women’s champ Jane Daniels was 36th overall on stage today as she gets to grips with her maiden W2RC race in Rally2 class. That puts the Fantic rider inside the top 50 overall in 45th (32nd in Rally2 class).

2023 Rallye du Maroc stage 4 results:



Overall classification (RallyGP class) after stage 4 of 5:



Photo Credit: Ingine Creators + Honda Racing Corporation MEHT + Lorenzo Santolino