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Mundial - Todo o Terreno


Domingo, 15 Abril 2018 00:24 | Actualizado em Sexta, 31 Julho 2020 07:25

301 Tomas Ourednicek/David Kripal


‘All eyes are on us now’


Last year’s winner in the car category is back to defend his title. For the previous edition of the Morocco Desert Challenge not many people counted on the Czech for the top spots, but Ourednicek proved them wrong. “We didn’t count on winning either”, he admits. “We were there to test the car and for David it was his first time as a navigator. We both had a clear mind, there was no pressure at all, but we had a perfect rally.”


Earlier this year Ourednicek competed in the Dakar Rally. He made it to the finish but had a tough time. “From the second day on we ran into problems which threw us way back in the field. And in the back of the field you keep running into more troubles. Once we spend 44 hours driving, without sleep. I thought I wasn’t going to make it, the sweeper truck had already passed us and we were on our own at 4 in the night on the Altiplano of Bolivia. But we refused to give up and so we made it to the finish ultimately.”


With this experience the tenth edition of the Morocco Desert Challenge may look like a piece of cake for the Czech duo with their Southracing Ford. But it isn’t. “Because we won last year, all eyes are on us. The expectations are high, also from ourselves, and so is the pressure. Winning again is our goal, of course, but it certainly will not be easy. The competition is strong. The engine and the torque are a bit less fast than last year, but I think staying out of troubles and good navigation may be the ultimate ingredients to win this rally. I didn’t enjoy the Dakar and more or less lost the fun of driving; I hope to find it back here. It’s not just hoping: I know for sure I will find it back here.”



501 Martin van den Brink/Wouter de Graaff/Mitchell van den Brink


‘Looking for the triple and to have fun’


After having won the previous two editions, Martin van den Brink is the top favourite to win the tenth edition of the Morocco Desert Challenge in the truck category. But the competition is stronger than ever. “Of course our aim is to win again, for the third time in a row”, the Dutchman says. “But we are here also to test some new things on our Renault and to have fun. The best way to test new parts is in a serious rally, which this is. The competion is strong, with at least four or five trucks that are more or less equal and capable of winning.”


Van den Brink expects a fierce fight with his compatriots Peter Versluis (MAN), Gert Huzink (Renault), his own Mammoet Rallysport team mate Janus van Kasteren and Czech ace Ales Loprais (Tatra). “The game is on, for sure. But I prefer to look only at ourselves, and not too much to the competition. This is a though rally by itself, in terms of navigation and the surface. You only have to hit one out of a million rocks to be in trouble.”


Van den Brink will be navigated again by experienced codriver Wouter de Graaff, but he will also have his 16 years old son Mitchell at his side in the truck. “He has already gained some experience on a bike, but this is his first time in the truck. It will be nice to have my son with me and have him to learn all about truck racing in a rally. That’s why the fun is such a big part for me. What is better than to compete in a rally with your son?”


506 Ales Loprais/Ferran Marco Alcayna/Lukas Janda


‘To finish first, you first have to finish’


In the last few rallies he competed in, Ales Loprais was not very lucky. In both the Silk Way Rally and the Dakar Rally he had to withdraw in the early stages. That’s why finishing with his Tatra truck is the first goal for the highly rated Czech top driver. “After so much problems it would be good to have a nice rally again”, Loprais says. “It is the first time for us in the Morocco Desert Challenge, but it seems like a very nice event, with a strong field, especially in the trucks. I’m looking forward to it.”

After a broken turbo charger in the Dakar Loprais changed quite a few things of the truck he built himself. “Things we want to test properly in a serious rally. We don’t really know what to expect, but looking at the level of the other trucks, the number of competitors and from what we have heard, this should be a great rally for us. For sure we will aim for the best possible position, but to finish first we first have to finish.”



304 Michiel Becx/Edwin Kuijpers


‘Lets wait and see what we can do’


It’s quite an extraordinary buggy Michiel Becx and Edwin Kuijpers bring to the start of the Morocco Desert Challenge, without a doubt. Not just because it is bright neon yellow. The Mitjet is designed as a buggy for baja racing, which means it is fast – and it does look fast - , but not necessarily easy to drive. “It is not built for rally raids like this”, copilot Kuijpers admits. “Therefore we ourselves may be a bit more modest concerning the expectations.”


The Dutch duo went for a test in the Merzouga dunes the past few days ahead of the start of the Morocco Desert Challenge, where they found quite a few points to improve. “We’ll have to wait and see how good this car is”, Kuijpers says. “We aim for a top 10 position, which should be possible when nothing crazy occurs, and we’ll see what happens from then on.”



402 Godfried Lintjens/Erik Klomp

‘The most advanced vehicle at the start’

As the number 2 on the starting list of the ssv’s one might expect quite something of the Dutch duo Godfried Lintjens and Erik Klomp. They do cherish some expectations themselves for this Morocco Desert Challenge. “But we also know that making plans is easy, but to make them work is something different”, Lintjens tells.

So, what is their plan? Lintjens has adapted and rebuilt the Can-Am Maverick himself, based on his three earlier entries and the experience he gained. “I don’t dare to say it is better, but it certainly is different, well-balanced and - I do dare to say – the most advanced vehicle at the start of this class. The plan is to make a good time in the prologue and thus get a good starting position for the first real stage, and then continue to grab some time every day. But we do realize anything unexpected can happen in an event like this, especially things beyond our control.”


To get the best out of the ssv Litjens teamed up with Erik Klomp, who competed on the bike before. For Klomp it is the first time as a copilot. “A new challenge”, he says. “The biggest change is that I will have to tell what I see in the roadbook. As a bike rider you do everything yourself: you see the notes and you act in the same moment. But as a copilot you can’t act yourself.”

“But we are both bike riders by nature”, Litjens adds. “So I don’t expect any problems. On the contrary: I think it is an advantage to have the experience as a bike rider. I believe we are a good couple.”



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