Rallye du Maroc

After three stages run around Aoufous, the competitors headed north back to Fez where the rally started from last 3 October. The last selective section of 168 kilometres resulted in the victory of Andrew Short (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team) in the FIM bike category, Giniel De Villiers (Toyota Gazoo Racing) in the FIA car category, Xavier Flick (Sherco TVS Rally Factory) in Enduro Cup Afriquia, Casey Currie (Monster Energy Can-Am) in the SSV Maroc Telecom category, Jaroslav Valtr (Valtr Racing Team) in Open trucks and Jean-Antoine Sabatier (Bugga’One) in Open cars.

The 456 kilometres long stage was the same for all the categories. After having left the bivouac in Aoufous very early in the morning, the Rallye du Maroc competitors covered a first 214 kilometres liaison to reach the start of the special near Midelt. The selective section comprised of 168 kilometres, starting across valleys and plains before a 60 kilometre mountain section and a finish in the forest just outside Ifrane. The competitors ended their 2019 Rallye du Maroc with a 74 kilometre liaison to reach Fez, where the prizegiving ceremony awaited them at the Hotel Marriott.

FIM BIKES-QUADS: SHORT AHEAD OF QUINTANILLA AND BARREDA
Separated by just 28 seconds this morning at the start of the last selective section, Andrew Short (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team) and Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team) fought an epic battle throughout the day, taking it in turns to lead the virtual overall classifications. In the end it was Andrew Short (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team), this morning’s leader, who wins the 2019 Rallye du Maroc by just 1’21’’ ahead of Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team). In the process the American takes his first win on a round of an FIM World Championship, a victory achieved with a minimum of drama and a maximum of regularity. The third place on the final podium was also fiercely contested, with Joan Barreda (Monster Energy Honda Team) managing to hold onto his third place overall by just 7’’, to the detriment of Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), winner of two stages on this Rallye du Maroc, including today’s. On the day’s stage the Australian headed home Joan Barreda (Monster Energy Honda Team) by 2’54’’ with Luciano Benavides third (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) at 3’10”.

In the quads Ignacio Casale (Drag’on) won the Rallye du Maroc ahead of Rafal Sonik (Sonik Team) by 29’52”, today’s stage winner, and Kamil Wisnieski (Wisnieski Team) by 1h08’15”. Clearly the Chilean is feeling very at home with his new team and bike.

Andrew Short (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team)
“It’s so unbelievable to win, it doesn’t seem real. It isn’t like I don’t deserve it because I’ve worked really hard, but I still feel I have a lot to learn. This is my third Rallye du Maroc, it was my first ever rally. I always enjoy it, especially since Castera took it over last year. I think it is the best race of the year in terms of organisation and professionalism. I look forward to this race because of that and because it is so challenging with the terrain.”

Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team)
“In the end I’m really happy with the result, the race. In the beginning it was really tough for me, the first two days with my leg. But after that I refocused and tried to catch the rhythm with the new road book, these new colours and every day it was a little bit better. This is my second race of the year. In Atacama I won and here I am second. It means we are doing things right and I feel really motivated for the future and I still have a few months before the Dakar to recover from my injury and keep training.”

Joan Barreda (Monster Energy Honda Team)
“I pushed hard today. We’ve been working hard all week and it has been a good training for the next Dakar. I like this new system of road book, the philosophy is super good. I think there are a few details to look at, like more information, because now that we can’t analysis and study the road book we need more references, compass headings.”

Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
“The only solution today was to dig deep but unfortunately about 7 kilometres from the finish I just ran a little bit wide on a turn, hit a stone in a bit of grass. I wasn’t going fast but I went over the bars and landed on the top of my head. It would have been good to put a KTM up on the podium…Now I’ve got a bit of headache and my neck is really stiff. I know I have the speed and my navigation is really good and now we focus on January.”

FIA: FOURTH VICTORY FOR DE VILLIERS
Giniel De Villiers (Toyota Gazoo Racing) takes in Fez his fourth Rallye du Maroc. Already a winner aboard a Nissan and a Volkswagen, the South African now hands a victory to Toyota. Carlos Sainz (X-Raid John Cooper Works Team), long time fighting with Giniel De Villiers for the final victory, saw his chances evaporate right at the end of the special when he lost the water out of his cooling system. Towed into the finish by Jakub Przygonski (Orlen Team / X-Raid), the Spanish driver saved his second place overall 17’42’’ behind Giniel De Villiers (Toyota Gazoo Racing). Mathieu Serradori (SRT Racing Team), initially classified third was disqualified by the FIA stewards because his car didn’t conform to their weight regulations. Jacub Przygonski (Orlen Team / W-Raid) therefore moves up to third place on the podium at 58’27’’. Fernando Alonso (Toyota Gazoo Racing) finishes his first international rally in 26th place. Handicapped by mechanical problems throughout the rally, the Spanish champion is already plotting his next moves.

Toyota filled the first four places on the day’s stage. Giniel De Villiers (Toyota Gazoo Racing) takes his only victory on this 2019 Rallye du Maroc, ahead Bernhard Ten Brinke (Toyota Gazoo Racing) at 26’’, Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Overdrive Racing) at 1’17’’ and Erik Van Loon (Overdrive Racing) at 2’39’’.

Stéphane Peterhansel did what he had to do today. Well placed to win the FIA Cross-Country Rallies World Cup following the retirement of Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing), the Frenchman needed to finish at least fifth overall to be sure to be crowned. « Monsieur Dakar » did just that, finishing fourth overall to win the precious trophy for the first time.

Ginel De Villiers (Toyota Gazoo Racing)
“It feels good. We’ve had really good rallies in Morocco. This is the fourth one. It took a while to come and its really special the first time out with Alex. The team did a great job the whole week on the car. I feel sorry for Nasser and Matthieu for their misfortune yesterday. Alex did a great job. There were some stressful times in the car but we got along well together, the win here definitely gives us confidence for the Dakar. This is where all the teams come to test before and we had a proper race here with five really challenging stages.”

Carlos Sainz (X-Raid John Cooper Works Team)
“Don’t really know what happened. I think a water pipe broke or something. It has been a very positive rally for the team and for us to get up to speed.”

Stéphane Peterhansel (X-Raid John Cooper Works Team) “We had to finish fifth to win the World Cup. In twenty years of car racing I have never won it before. It wasn’t my main goal but it is good to win it with Andrea. The car’s development is going well. We could have won without yesterday’s error, that’s certain. It was a real rally, difficult with very varied specials. David found some new tracks, some bumpy, some very open. There’s a few adjustments to be made with the new road book. It shouldn’t be given out in the morning on two days but everyday” .

Fernando Alonso (Toyota Gazoo Racing)
“Obviously we had issues more or less everyday. We are learning from those issues. Even today where it was very nice landscape to drive we had some difficulties. We got lost a couple of times. Finishing the Rallye du Maroc is not as easy as it seems. We did it at the first attempt so happy with that but many things for me to learn.”

Today’s 456 kilometres long stage was the same for all the categories. After having left the bivouac in Aoufous very early in the morning, the Rallye du Maroc competitors covered a first 214 kilometres liaison to reach the start of the special near Midelt. The selective section comprised of 168 kilometres, starting across valleys and plains before a 60 kilometre mountain section and a finish in the forest just outside Ifrane. The competitors ended their 2019 Rallye du Maroc with a 74 kilometre liaison to reach Fez, where the prizegiving ceremony awaited them at the Hotel Marriott.

FIM BIKES-QUADS: SHORT AHEAD OF QUINTANILLA AND BARREDA
Separated by just 28 seconds this morning at the start of the last selective section, Andrew Short (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team) and Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team) fought an epic battle throughout the day, taking it in turns to lead the virtual overall classifications. In the end it was Andrew Short (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team), this morning’s leader, who wins the 2019 Rallye du Maroc by just 1’21’’ ahead of Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team). In the process the American takes his first win on a round of an FIM World Championship, a victory achieved with a minimum of drama and a maximum of regularity. The third place on the final podium was also fiercely contested, with Joan Barreda (Monster Energy Honda Team) managing to hold onto his third place overall by just 7’’, to the detriment of Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), winner of two stages on this Rallye du Maroc, including today’s. On the day’s stage the Australian headed home Joan Barreda (Monster Energy Honda Team) by 2’54’’ with Luciano Benavides third (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) at 3’10”.

In the quads Ignacio Casale (Drag’on) won the Rallye du Maroc ahead of Rafal Sonik (Sonik Team) by 29’52”, today’s stage winner, and Kamil Wisnieski (Wisnieski Team) by 1h08’15”. Clearly the Chilean is feeling very at home with his new team and bike.

Andrew Short (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team)
“It’s so unbelievable to win, it doesn’t seem real. It isn’t like I don’t deserve it because I’ve worked really hard, but I still feel I have a lot to learn. This is my third Rallye du Maroc, it was my first ever rally. I always enjoy it, especially since Castera took it over last year. I think it is the best race of the year in terms of organisation and professionalism. I look forward to this race because of that and because it is so challenging with the terrain.”

Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team)
“In the end I’m really happy with the result, the race. In the beginning it was really tough for me, the first two days with my leg. But after that I refocused and tried to catch the rhythm with the new road book, these new colours and every day it was a little bit better. This is my second race of the year. In Atacama I won and here I am second. It means we are doing things right and I feel really motivated for the future and I still have a few months before the Dakar to recover from my injury and keep training.”

Joan Barreda (Monster Energy Honda Team)
“I pushed hard today. We’ve been working hard all week and it has been a good training for the next Dakar. I like this new system of road book, the philosophy is super good. I think there are a few details to look at, like more information, because now that we can’t analysis and study the road book we need more references, compass headings.”

Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
“The only solution today was to dig deep but unfortunately about 7 kilometres from the finish I just ran a little bit wide on a turn, hit a stone in a bit of grass. I wasn’t going fast but I went over the bars and landed on the top of my head. It would have been good to put a KTM up on the podium…Now I’ve got a bit of headache and my neck is really stiff. I know I have the speed and my navigation is really good and now we focus on January.”

FIA: FOURTH VICTORY FOR DE VILLIERS
Giniel De Villiers (Toyota Gazoo Racing) takes in Fez his fourth Rallye du Maroc. Already a winner aboard a Nissan and a Volkswagen, the South African now hands a victory to Toyota. Carlos Sainz (X-Raid John Cooper Works Team), long time fighting with Giniel De Villiers for the final victory, saw his chances evaporate right at the end of the special when he lost the water out of his cooling system. Towed into the finish by Jakub Przygonski (Orlen Team / X-Raid), the Spanish driver saved his second place overall 17’42’’ behind Giniel De Villiers (Toyota Gazoo Racing). Mathieu Serradori (SRT Racing Team), initially classified third was disqualified by the FIA stewards because his car didn’t conform to their weight regulations. Jacub Przygonski (Orlen Team / W-Raid) therefore moves up to third place on the podium at 58’27’’. Fernando Alonso (Toyota Gazoo Racing) finishes his first international rally in 26th place. Handicapped by mechanical problems throughout the rally, the Spanish champion is already plotting his next moves.

Toyota filled the first four places on the day’s stage. Giniel De Villiers (Toyota Gazoo Racing) takes his only victory on this 2019 Rallye du Maroc, ahead Bernhard Ten Brinke (Toyota Gazoo Racing) at 26’’, Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Overdrive Racing) at 1’17’’ and Erik Van Loon (Overdrive Racing) at 2’39’’.

Stéphane Peterhansel did what he had to do today. Well placed to win the FIA Cross-Country Rallies World Cup following the retirement of Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing), the Frenchman needed to finish at least fifth overall to be sure to be crowned. « Monsieur Dakar » did just that, finishing fourth overall to win the precious trophy for the first time.

Ginel De Villiers (Toyota Gazoo Racing)
“It feels good. We’ve had really good rallies in Morocco. This is the fourth one. It took a while to come and its really special the first time out with Alex. The team did a great job the whole week on the car. I feel sorry for Nasser and Matthieu for their misfortune yesterday. Alex did a great job. There were some stressful times in the car but we got along well together, the win here definitely gives us confidence for the Dakar. This is where all the teams come to test before and we had a proper race here with five really challenging stages.”

Carlos Sainz (X-Raid John Cooper Works Team)
“Don’t really know what happened. I think a water pipe broke or something. It has been a very positive rally for the team and for us to get up to speed.”

Stéphane Peterhansel (X-Raid John Cooper Works Team) “We had to finish fifth to win the World Cup. In twenty years of car racing I have never won it before. It wasn’t my main goal but it is good to win it with Andrea. The car’s development is going well. We could have won without yesterday’s error, that’s certain. It was a real rally, difficult with very varied specials. David found some new tracks, some bumpy, some very open. There’s a few adjustments to be made with the new road book. It shouldn’t be given out in the morning on two days but everyday” .

Fernando Alonso (Toyota Gazoo Racing)
“Obviously we had issues more or less everyday. We are learning from those issues. Even today where it was very nice landscape to drive we had some difficulties. We got lost a couple of times. Finishing the Rallye du Maroc is not as easy as it seems. We did it at the first attempt so happy with that but many things for me to learn.”

ENDURO CUP AFRIQUIA : XAVIER FLICK IMPRESSES
Xavier Flick (Sherco TVS Racing), up until now the winner of all the stages in the Enduro Cup Afriquia category, finally gave away a day to Damien Miquel-Orlandi (RS Concept CBO) for 10’09’’. The Sherco rider finishes third, behind the quad of Vincent Padrona (Corsica ATV Team), second on the day 9’08’’ behind the winner. Xavier Flick wins the 2019 Rallye du Maroc Enduro Cup Afriquia, 3h35’58’’ ahead of Guillaume Borne (Sherco TVS Racing) and 4h10’31’’ ahead of Damien Bataller (Team DB Racing).

Grégory Gilson (G Project), aboard his antique 1970s Honda 125 XLS, finished in an amazing 12th place! Victim of a crash just three kilometres from today’s finish, the enduro rider managed to get across the line with a broken collarbone.

SSV MAROC TELECOM: CASEY CURRIE, HEADING FOR DAKAR
In the SSV Maroc Telecom category, the comfortable lead established by Casey Currie (Monster Energy Can-Am) allowed him to set off this morning in a relaxed frame of mind. The American finished third on the fifth stage, 13’10’’ behind the day’s winner, Antonio Hinojo Lopez José (Buggy Masters Team & XRaids). Eric Abel took second at 56’’. Overall, Casey Currie wins the 2019 Rallye du Maroc SSV Maroc Telecom category and heads towards his next object, the 2020 Dakar, with confidence.

Anas Sorhmat (Team Sodicars), who normally races a bike in the Supersport category in the USA has finished the 2019 Rallye du Maroc in the SSV Maroc Telecom category. And judging by the enthusiasm he displayed at the end of every special he clearly had a great time.

OPEN CARS: JEAN-ANTOINE SABATIER TAKES ADVANTAGE OF CHRISTIAN LAVIEILLE’S PROBLEMS
Christian Lavieille (Team Land Cruiser Toyota Team Autobody) won four stages out of five, including today’s. But despite this impressive performance his mechanical problems on stage 3, and the 100 hour penalty that came with it, allowed Jean-Antoine Sabatier (Bugga’One) to win the 2019 Rallye du Maroc Open car category ahead of Guillaume Dupont and Bernard Gateau (Team Génération 4×4 Racing). The female Moroccan team, posted some good performances, notably a third place on stage 4, to finish sixth overall.

OPEN TRUCKS
In the trucks, Jaroslav Valtr (Valtr Racing Team) wins the 2019 Rallye du Maroc Open trucks category with a comfortable lead over Martin Macik (Big Shock Racing).

The 2019 Rally du Maroc has barely finished and already ODC Events are planning the future. “After having organised the last two editions in the regions of Fez and Erfoud we want to make some changes to the rally. I can already announce that we will be creating an itinerate rally. We will cross other regions so that the largest possible number of Moroccans profit from our visit. That’s my goal and I already have a few ideas in mind,” declared David Castera. The details of the 2020 edition of the Rallye du Maroc will be announced shortly.