Stage two of the Andalucia Rally was made up of two timed specials. The first challenged riders with narrower tracks than seen so far at the 2020 event, weaving their way through olive tree plantations. The second special repeated some of the route used in the opening stage on Wednesday, and saw riders attack the faster, open trails to the north of the bivouac town of Villamartin.
Starting further back in the field of riders due to his 17th place finish on stage one, Toby Price had to ride through the dust from the competitors ahead in order to make up time. Despite the disadvantage, the Australian was able to fight his way through to third at the stage’s halfway point. A small mistake cost Price some time in the second part of the special, but the former Dakar winner was able to hold on for fifth at the finish.
Toby Price:“Day two has gone a little better, but the rally is certainly proving to be quite a challenge. A lot of people had some crashes today, including Sam and Matthias, so the main goal, as ever, is to get to the finish unscathed and on two wheels. I’m pleased with how I rode, it wasn’t easy starting further back and having to deal with the dust, but the result is ok. Two days left now so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
KTM Factory Racing’s Daniel Sanders continues to learn and gain knowledge onboard his KTM 450 RALLY. Putting in an excellent performance on what was only his second-ever competitive rally stage, Sanders placed 15th, despite a couple of crashes along the way. Now with the rally at its halfway stage, Daniel is starting to settle into the race and looks forward to more solid results from the remaining two stages.
Daniel Sanders:“Today has been good, it was easier for me starting at the back and being able to follow the lines, so that made things easier to navigate. I started off really well but made a mistake quite early on – the tape was down and the layout didn’t match what I had on the roadbook – I think a few people got lost there. I did have a couple of crashes, but generally I found that I could get into a good rhythm today and find a nice flow. We repeated part of yesterday’s stage too, so it was good to be able to push there. I’m feeling good, and the bike has been great – looking forward to tomorrow now.”
Matthias Walkner endured a mixed stage two in Andalucia. Feeling good and able to push on the technical timed special, the Austrian immediately made up time on his rivals. A crash on one of the faster corners thankfully didn’t cause any injuries but resulted in a number of minutes lost. From there, it took Walkner a little time to find his rhythm again, but using his experience and managing to regain his focus, he was able to safely reach the finish in a commendable 15th place.
Matthias Walkner:“Again, it’s been a tough day for me here in Spain. I felt good on the bike and tried to push right from the start. At around 40 kilometers, I had a big crash – the bike came around on me and I highsided off it. Thankfully, although I was in some pain, I was able to carry on. I made another navigation mistake in the second half of the special, that cost me more time, but after that I was actually able to find a rhythm and enjoy the end of the stage. The result doesn’t look so good, but on the positive side, the bike is working well and I’m pretty happy with my riding. Hopefully, we can have a better day tomorrow.”
Fastest of the Red Bull KTM riders on stage one, Sam Sunderland was fifth to enter Thursday’s stage two. Unfortunately, a nasty fall at kilometer 10 resulted in the Brit having to withdraw from the stage and the event. Suffering pain in his arm, Sunderland was taken to hospital for x-rays but was found not to have suffered any fractures. As such, Sam will not take any further part in the 2020 Andalucia Rally.
Jordi Viladoms – KTM Rally Team Manager:“It’s been another tricky stage here for everyone. Toby did very well, coming from behind through all the dust and he was able to make a good result. Matthias, Sam, and Daniel all had crashes today, Sam’s was very early in the stage, and unfortunately it was impossible for him to continue. Thankfully, nothing is broken and so for him, we can continue preparing for Dakar. Matthias and Daniel have really good speed, but we can see, the rally is more of a challenge than we thought, with many broken tracks and dust. We will continue to do our best and hope for a strong result at the finish.”
Friday’s stage three of the 2020 Andalucia Rally, the penultimate of the event, will see competitors cover a total of 434 kilometers. A single timed special of 300 kilometers will once again test riders’ skill and judgement as they navigate through the Spanish tracks and farmland.
Provisional Results Stage Two – 2020 Andalucia Rally
1. Ross Branch (BWA), Yamaha, 2:53:382. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 2:54:20 +0.423. Lorenzo Santolino (ESP), Sherco, 2:55:54 +2:164. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 2:56:14 +2:365. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 2:56:43 +3:05Other KTM11. Daniel Sanders (AUS), KTM, 3:00:12 +6:3415. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 3:02:29 +08:51
Provisional Standings (after stage two) – 2020 Andalucia Rally
1. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 6:22:202. Lorenzo Santolino (ESP), Sherco, 6:27:12 +4:523. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 6:29:50 +7:304. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 6:30:28 +8:085. Ross Branch (BWA), Yamaha, 6:33:05 +10.45Other KTM10. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 6:41:07 +18:4711. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 6:41:12 +18:5216. Daniel Sanders (AUS), KTM, 6:49:10 +26:50