2017 Dakar Rally runner-up Matthias Walkner is looking to better last year’s performance in 2018, and will go into the event high on confidence after a winning the final round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship in Morocco on board the new KTM 450 RALLY bike.
The Austrian finished second to team-mate Sam Sunderland last January, and after a year of ups and downs, Walkner was happy to end the season last year on a high, and he feels that KTM has done a great job in improving their bike as the Austrian outfit look for a seventeenth consecutive bike class victory in the Dakar.
“It’s been a long year and a season of ups and downs for me,” said Walkner. “To finish the championship on a high and on a bike that suits me so well is a massive confidence boost. My feeling on the new bike allows me to push that little bit harder and it has taken my riding to the next level.
“Nobody can predict what will happen at the Dakar, but the team have done an amazing job preparing the bike for the event and I am feeling really good. Hopefully all that hard work will pay off and we can come away with another win for KTM.
“Before that there’s much more training and riding to do, to be in the best shape I can before the start of the race.”