The race towards the 2019 Dakar Rally is well and truly on with the world’s best offroaders getting primed for the challenges ahead. The recent Baja Poland and Desafio Ruta 40 saw Dakar contenders on both four and two wheels showing impressive speed.
Over in Poland it was local favourite Kuba Przygonski who came out on top of the seven-stage rally in his native land. The Baja Poland tested Przygonski and his rivals over 500 kilometres of offroad terrain.
Crossing the finish line in first place has seen Przygonski and his Belgian co-driver Tom Colsoul increase their overall advantage at the top of the 2018 World Cup for Cross Country Rallies. The pair collected their fourth win of the opening nine rounds of the championship in Poland.
With two races remaining this season – Rallye du Maroc and Baja Portalegre – the speedy duo are poised to win big in their MINI this year.
“It was a difficult rally so I’m happy to cross the line with the victory. It was a big help to have so many supporters out on the route to cheer us on.” – Kuba Przygonski
The two-wheel action has been taking place on the same continent that will host the 2019 Dakar Rally. The best offroad bikers on the planet headed to Argentina to contest the five-stage Desafio Ruta 40.
Aiming for top honours in South America were two Dakar champions riding for the Red Bull KTM Factory Team; Toby Price and Matthias Walkner. It was 2016 Dakar champ Price who came closest to winning outright, but the Australian was beaten into second place by just six seconds by Paulo Goncalves.
“I tried my best but unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough and I lost out on the overall by the smallest of margins.” – Toby Price
Reigning Dakar champion Walkner collected a stage win on the fourth day of racing as he finished strongly in Argentina. The Austrian was unlucky to miss out on the podium due to a time penalty that pushed him down to fourth overall in the final rankings.
“I know my pace was really good and I’m happy with how my bike is performing. It’s unfortunate to receive the penalty as it has cost my place on the podium.” – Matthias Walkner
The points earned at the Desafio Ruta 40 have taken Price to second in the 2018 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship with Walkner in fifth place. The last round of the season will take place at the Rally du Maroc next month.
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2018 Baja Poland final results – Top 5
1. Przygoński/Colsoul MINI 05:27:45
2. Hołowczyc/Kurzeja MINI +03:34
3. Vasilyev/Zhiltsow Toyota +16:56
4. Prokop/Tománek Ford +20:56
5. Zapletal/Momot Ford +22:46
2018 Desafio Ruta 40 final results – Top 5
1. Paulo Goncalves Honda 17:06:02
2. Toby Price KTM +00:06
3. Pablo Quintanilla Husqvarna +08:45
4. Matthias Walkner KTM +12:47
5. Ricky Brabec Honda +47:54