Final stage five results from the 2023 Rallye du Maroc FIM World Rally-Raid Championship where Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Luciano Benavides claims a maiden W2RC crown ahead of Toby Price.

152 kilometres of timed special with around 40 kilometres of dunes and a course which race director David Castera said would need competitors “to be on high alert.” Previous race days saw no shortage of crashes in the moto categories with some big name going out.

“I’d be cautious if I were them,” added Castera in the final nightly briefing.

Heed those warnings or go for broke? There was a world championship on the line here. Out front of the Rallye du Maroc timesheets by a comfortable margin, Toby Price could only bring it home and hope his rival, Luciano Benavides who led the stage away, would get overcome by the following pack.

Toby and Luciano started the stage with exactly the same virtual points (if they finished as they were, first and third in Morocco) which would make Benavides champion by virtue of the tie-break rule.

Crucial today then were two factors: that Benavides would be first rider on the stage which is notoriously hard, time bonuses or no time bonuses. Plus, Pablo Quintanilla with a gap of 1m:36s behind him overall, could take the place away from his South American counterpart. Adding to the drama was an issue with Pablo’s iritrack which meant no-one knew his times all stage…

“Today was crazy!”

Clearly no-one read the script here as the results turned upside down with every final kilometre. The end result? Price won the Rallye du Maroc for the third time but behind him riders changed positions so quickly it was hard to keep up and in the end it was a long wait for confirmation.

Firstly, despite leading the stage at one point, Ross Branch crucially lost time in the final Ks, allowing Benavides through to second in the overall. That meant it didn’t matter what Quintanilla did – he won the stage in fact – Luciano was be crowned champion.

The Argentinian put in a shift today, riding at the front and therefore laying down the tracks for everyone to follow, during the thick of the 152kms he was impressively fast on fresh tracks and far from it being in the hands of others he grabbed the initiative and took the win on merit.


“It’s a dream come true for me!” Said Luciano at the finish. “It’s been a long journey to get to this point from finishing my first rally here in Morocco in 2017. To finish like this against Toby on the last day of the rally while opening the stage is incredible, I can’t thank the team enough for all the hard work and their belief in me!

“Today was crazy! The navigation for this stage was tricky, I did get lost at some points, but I managed to get back on track quickly and make up time. I loved opening the stage on the dunes and I knew that I had to get ahead as the others would be catching me up.

Waiting for confirmation of the championship when I finished was tense, 40 minutes felt like four hours, but I knew I gave my best today as there was no other option. It was really special to start first because I could just look forward and get on with it, and no one caught me so I finished first too.”


It must have felt like de ja vu for Price who found himself narrowly defeated by a Benavides for the second time this season. The Australian was typically magnanimous in defeat (both Benavides brothers are in reality his KTM Group teammates) but was left to reflect on the points he lost earlier in the season through no point of this own.

“I’m happy to have won the round here in Morocco.”  Says Toby. “The championship is a hard one to swallow, we put up a good fight and did everything we could but 2023 just hasn’t been the greatest season for us. I’m happy in the fact that I never gave up and put in 100 percent right to the finish. I’ll take a little time now to get some rest but then we’re soon looking ahead to the Dakar in January. For sure, it’s going to be another tough one, but I’m feeling good, the bike is great, and I’ll do my best as always.”

Honda take team award

A final stage flourish brought the day win and third overall for Pablo Quintanilla, 1m24s ahead of Benavides for the final stage.

The Chilean headed home the Honda team who win the manufacturer’s world championship, finishing eight points clear of KTM who have fielded two riders for most the season (whereas the HRC team consists Quintanilla, Adrien Van Beveren, Ricky Brabec and Nacho Cornejo). AVB finishes third overall in the individual title race. Strength in numbers and all that.


Rally2: Dumontier takes the title

With eighth place scratch, Bradley Cox claims back-to-back Rally2 class wins to finish his world championship season on a high.

Two places further back, Romain Dumontier takes the biggest prize in the Rally2 class the junior class world crown.

41st in the final stage and 44th overall (30th in Rally2 class) means EnduroGP Women’s World Champion Jane Daniels can go to Dakar. Despite four world titles already, Dakar rules say she had to “prove” herself in the rally game and this result should be her ticket to Saudi in January sorted.

2023 Rallye du Maroc – Stage 5 Provisional Classification (top 50): 



2023 Rallye du Maroc – Provisional Final Classification [After Stage 5]




2023 FIM World Rally-Raid Championship Final Standings

1. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 100 points

2. Toby Price (KTM) 96 pts

3. Adrien Van Beveren (Honda) 76 pts

4. Ross Branch (Hero) 58 pts

5. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 55 pts


Photo Credit: Ingine Creators + A.S.O. DPPI Julien Delfosse