Before the last stage tomorrow, the competitors of the 2019 Rallye du Maroc 2019 made a final loop around Aoufous. This penultimate stage, the same for all the categories, completely turned upside down the standings in both the FIM bikes and FIA cars categories. As for yesterday, the road book was distributed this morning before the start, but this time for all the competitors.
The competitors of the 2019 Rallye du Maroc set off this morning for a stage of 458 kilometres. Initially the FIA / FIM competitors were down to race 408 km of special, but the Race Direction decided to stop the race at km 311, CP1, the same place as the SSV Maroc Telecom, Enduro Cup Afriquia and the Open car and truck categories stopped, for safety reasons. While on stage 3 the road book was distributed in the morning only to the FIA / FIM categories, this morning all the categories received their road books before the start, 30’ for the bikes, 15’ for the cars.
FIM BIKES-QUADS: ANDREW SHORT THE NEW LEADER
Paulo Goncalves (Hero Motosports Rally Team) wins the day’s stage. The Portuguese rider, who started 18th this morning, continues to pull rabbits out of the bag with his new team. Ricky Brabec (Monster Energy Honda Team) finished second at just 58”, ahead of Andrew Short (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team) at 1’23’’. The quiet American was in the lead for a good part of the day before struggling to find the refuelling point. It was nevertheless an excellent day for the Husqvarna rider, as this evening he takes the overall leader. For his KTM cousins it was a less positive stage. After having taken the two top spots yesterday, Matthias Walkner and Toby Price both struggled with the navigation, the two Dakar winners finishing 14th and 15th at 15’50” and 18’40” respectively. Overall, with one last special to run, Andrew Short has managed to establish a tiny lead over his teammate Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team), second at 35’’. Third place on the podium goes to Ricky Brabec (Monster Energy Honda Team), now at 2’13’’.
In the quads, Rafal Sonik (Sonik Team) wins the stage, just ahead of the overall leader Ignacio Casale (Drag’on) by 1’43’’. Axel Dutrie (Drag’on) once again finishes with the best by taking the third place at 8’03’’. The Chilean leads Rafal Sonik (Sonik Team) by 34’52’’ and Kamil Wisniewski (Team Wisniewski) by 54’58’
Paulo Goncalves (Hero Motosports Rally Team)
“Yesterday I rode a really bad stage. Today I only lost one or two minutes with mistakes. Everything went as I’d hoped. I am very content to bring home this win to Hero and the whole team.”
Andrew Short (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team)
“I pushed really hard up until right before refuelling when my bike started to handle strangely. It was a tricky road book before the refuel and I didn’t understand it, so I rode to the top of the hill and I asked a local person and I had him point the direction and I followed that and then the arrow popped up for the fuel so I was really lucky. A good day for me.”
Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team)
“Today was a good day for me. I felt really good. I tried to push when I felt confident. There were a few notes that were really tricky to navigate. But in the end it was a good stage.”
Ricky Brabec (Monster Energy Honda Team)
“A little bit tricky navigation with a couple of notes missing in my opinion. It makes it hard to open. The guys are opening really fast. It isn’t slowing us down. Even if you not opening it is tricky because by the time you arrive there are tracks everywhere. There’s one more day left so let’s see what happens.”
Joan Barreda (Monster Energy Honda Team)
“Today we had more information so not so many mistakes at the front. It was good pushing all the way. 10 km from the finish I make a mistake and I lost a few important minutes. That’s how it is.
Xavier Flick (Sherco)
“So I won the special, my fourth on the trot. The special was magnificent today, sandy plateau, oueds, stony tracks. Really beautiful. Tomorrow I’ll carry on as I have until now without falling off, without damaging the bike. Up until now I haven’t crashed. I just laid it down once a 2 kph. The road book in the morning is pretty good, it avoids us working in the evening.”
FIA CARS: AL-ATTIYAH AND PETERHANSEL OUT OF THE RUNNING,
SAINZ AND DE VILLIERS THE MAIN BENEFICARIES
Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing) lost all chance today of winning a sixth Rallye du Maroc. The Qatari driver was stopped at km 205 for a long time with mechanical problems before heading back to the bivouac by road. Third overall this morning, Stéphane Peterhansel (X-Raid John Cooper Works Team) was poised to take the overall when he rolled the car at kilometre 293. The Frenchman finally managed to repair his two-wheel drive buggy, to cross the finish line nearly an hour and a half after the day’s winner, his teammate Carlos Sainz (X-Raid John Cooper Works Team). The Spanish driver takes his second consecutive victory, ahead of Jakub Przygonski (Orlen Team / X-Raid) at 2’37’’ and Giniel De Villiers (Toyota Gazoo Racing) at 8’25’’. Nani Roma (Bogward) is becoming more comfortable with his new team and finished fourth at 10’57’’. Giniel De Villiers (Toyota Gazoo Racing), regular since the start of the rally, takes the overall lead. Carlos Sainz (X-Raid John Cooper Works Team) is now second at 04’42”, while Mathieu Serradori (SRT Racing Team) climbs onto the podium at 28’42”.
In the race for the FIA World Cup, Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing) can still be crowned if Stéphane Peterhansel (X-Raid John Cooper Works Team), currently fifth overall, fails to finish in the top 5.
Carlos Sainz (X-Raid John Cooper Works Team)
“Difficult navigation, we were turning around. I think everybody was having difficulty find one place but apart from that no problem. Good day for the overall. »
Jakub Przygonski (Orlen Team / X-Raid)
“A tricky stage today, a lot of stones on the road. Not easy to find the way with hard navigation. We got lost at one point but managed to find the road. The car was good, we were pushing. We came across Peterhansel, but they gave us the ‘thumbs up’ sign.”
Mathieu Serradori (SRT Racing Team)
“We drove hard right from the beginning, overtaking three or four cars. At seven kilometres from the neutralisation we saw Stéphane Peterhansel coming in the other direction, followed by De Villiers! Instead of following the experts we got lost and lost time. We went into the second part of the special frustrated, but we quickly calmed down after seeing the accident of Stephane and Andrea. Fortunately, they weren’t hurt but we were a little in shock. In the end we are looking good in the results but I’m a little disappointed. David Castera warned us it would be hard all the way to Fez.”
Giniel De Villiers (Toyota Gazoo Racing)
“These races are crazy, it is never over til its done. We were going well at the beginning then Yazeed caught us very quickly but then hit something in the rocks and stopped. Then we saw Nasser. We tried to help him. We spent about 3 minutes with him but there was nothing we could do so we carried on. We went wrong and ended up doing 15 km too many.”
Stéphane Peterhansel (X-Raid John Cooper Works Team)
“It was entirely my fault. We arrived opposite two small dunes on the left and a flat bit on the right. To have more speed I chose the flat, except there was a hidden drop. We rolled the car. We broke our suspension in the accident. We were able to make repairs and get to the finish line. I hope we will be able to start tomorrow.”
Fernando Alonso (Toyota Gazoo Racing)
“We had too many punctures again. At one point we saw Nasser so we stopped to see what had happened and we found he had an engine problem. We took some tyres from him and we took it a little bit easy until the end. So we could have done a very good stage but maybe tomorrow the last day is good for us.”
Casey Currie (Monster Energy Can-Am)
“Good day, my co-driver did a good job navigating. We nearly crashed in the same place as Peterhansel. We were dangling off the edge of the drop and Stephane and Andrea ran round and put a strap on us and stopped us from falling. We were 2 inches from falling in. The scariest thing in my life.”
ENDURO CUP AFRIQUIA / SSV MAROC TELECOM / OPEN CARS / OPEN TRUCKS: FLICK AND VALTR CONTINUE, LAVIEILLE AND CURRIE COME BACK.
After their mechanical problems yesterday, Christian Lavieille (Team Land Cruiser Toyota Auto Body) restarted this morning and took another stage victory. Jean-Antoine Sabatier (Bugga’One) finished second at 13’56’’. Fine performance from the 100% female Moroccan crew, Souad Mouktadiri and Firdouass Al-Fannane (Mouktadiri Racing Team) who finish third at 14’00’’.
In the SSV Maroc Telecom category, Casey Currie (Monster Energy Can-Am) was the fastest after having a big fright at the same place where the Peterhansles went over the edge. The American driver leads Ahmed Alkuwari by 29’15’’ and Marion Franco by 34’59’’. Overall Casey Currie retakes the first place with a 1h00’21’’ lead over Antonio Hinojo Lopez José (Buggy Masters Team & XRaids) and 2h52’25’’ on Rojas Almuzara Josep (Buggy Masters Team & XRaids).
In the trucks, as yesterday, Martin Macik (Big Shock Racing) won the stage, 39’31’’ ahead of Jaroslav Valtr (Valtr Racing Team), who still has a big lead overall.
In the Enduro Cup Afriquia, Xavier Flick (Sherco TVS Racing) continues his faultless race. The Frenchman led Guillaume Borne (RS Concept CBO) by 22’29’’ and Damien Batailler (Team DB Racing) by 30’06’’. Winner of all the specials up until now, Xavier Flick who was invited by ODC Events after winning the Casteu Trophy challenge, is riding a Sherco 450 Rally Light, a model developed by the French manufacturer for enduro riders dreaming of the desert.
A WORD FROM DAVID CASTERA
“Regarding the road book in general, as always there are positives and negatives. For the positive everyone seems to agree that giving out the road book in the morning is the way to go. The challenge now is to find the correct way of making the road book in this context. Contrary to what people are saying, the road book has been done in the same way as before, except before the competitors had the time to change it to suit themselves and cancel out the little imperfections. That being no longer the case, we as organisers need to be very precise and have extremely professional openers. The lesson I have learnt is that we must change the way we work, because if we are to give out the road book in the morning it must be irreproachable and supported by an opening team that understands what is required, the impact on the race and the safety implications.”
STAGE 5 – WEDNESDAY 9 OCTOBER: AOUFOUS – FEZ
The same route for everyone tomorrow heading north from the bivouac back to Fez. Following a liaison of 214 km, the competitors tackle a 214 km special before a last 74 km liaison. A very beautiful stage as far as scenery is concerned, the competitors start through valleys and over plains before getting into a 60 km section of mountains before returning to the plains and some tricky navigation. The last kilometres are narrow through the forest. Not that long in terms of kilometres, it isn’t a stage that should be underestimated.