Walkner Crowned 2015 World Cross-Country Rallies Champion

Matthias Walkner
Matthias Walkner

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team has celebrated following the Morocco Rally securing both the overall round win and the championship title.

By Hayden Gregory
Matthias Walkner
Matthias Walkner

Sam Sunderland stood atop the podium in Morocco following a strong showing throughout the race. Entering the final stage with a ten minute buffer to second placed Pablo Quintanilla; a small crash by the Chilean all but confirmed the overall victory for Sunderland.

Austrian rider Matthias Walkner, finished the Morocco Rally 34 seconds adrift of teammate Sunderland to secure the 2015 FIM World Cross-Country Rallies Championship.

Heading into the final rally, only two points separated Walkner and teammate Quintanilla for the world title. Unfortunately, Quintanilla’s final stage crash proved costly as he dropped down to fifth place in the championship standings. Sam Sunderland finished second in the championship race while Marc Coma finished third despite retiring during the season.

“Luckily everything went extremely well for me today,” Walkner commented.

“I was able to take the lead at the 40 km mark and then I really went for those final two points and managed to have a small advantage. I had to wait 15 minutes at the refueling stop and when Pablo did not arrive (he had a small crash and was only slightly injured), I knew I was going well. I tried not to make any mistakes and more or less rode comfortably to the finish.”

KTM’s division Manager Alex Doringer was extremely pleased with his teams result saying: “This was a great way to wrap up our season with Sam (Sunderland) taking the victory in Morocco and above all, with Matthias (Walkner) wrapping up the world title in his first full year of competition with the team.

Matthias did a fantastic job and improved dramatically in a very short time. We had our share of problems in Morocco, with a number of our team suffering stomach problems, but I think with these results we have more than proved that we are the best team in the world.

“As team, manufacturer and company we can be very proud to now have an Austrian Rally World Champion.”

Australian KTM rider Toby Price failed to contest the final stages after succumbing to a stomach bug mid-way through the race.

Stage Five Results – Loop of Agadir

  1. Paolo Goncalves (POR) Honda, three hours 35 minutes
  2. Helder Rodrigues (POR) Yamaha, + 5 minutes 46
  3. Matthias Walkner (AUT) KTM, + 6.48
  4. Sam Sunderland (GBR) KTM, +10.35
  5. Olivier Pain (FRA) KTM, + 10.37
    Other KTM
    6. Antoine Meo (FRA) KTM, + 11.15
    10. Laia Sanz (ESP) KTM, + 15.21

Final Overall Results
1, Sunderland, 15 hours 38.00
2. Walkner + 00.34 (2015 FIM World Cross-country Rallies Champion)
3. Goncalves, + 29.08
4. Faria, +56.38
5. Benavides, + 59.15

FIM World Cross-Country Rallies Championship Final Standings
1. Walkner KTM 87 points (World Champion)
2. Sunderland KTM 80
3. Marc Coma KTM 70 (now retired)
4. Goncalves 69
5. Quintanilla, KTM 65

Damien Ashenhurst
About Damien Ashenhurst 1723 Articles
Managing Editor of DIRT ACTION magazine. Damo doesn't like cheese or ISIS. Can often be found riding in mud because it's closest to the natural environment of a squid.