After Saturday´s problems at the OiLibya Rally Morocco due to flooded riverbeds, the difficulties for the race authorities continued on Sunday even before the start of stage three. What was previously scheduled to be another long day with a two-part special test had to be re-arranged. Conditions on the way from Erfoud to Erg Lihoudi still proved to be too complicated to stick with the original programme.
The first and longer part of the stage was cancelled, the riders started their special test at noon over a shortened 142-km distance.
Once the results after stage two had been made official late on Saturday night, Rodrigues and his teammate CS Santosh had made up serious ground overall. The results listed the Portuguese and the Indian among a select group of participants who got through Saturday´s turbulent stage unharmed. Rodrigues therefore went into Sunday´s action in seventh spot overall, Santosh began the day at 15th place. And the Hero-ic duo managed to stay in the mix again. Rodrigues finished the stage in 9th place, moving him up one spot to 6th overall. CS Santosh also improved his overnight position by a notch to 14th position overall.
Sunday´s route offered a variety of terrain and some dunes along the way. Both riders took no unnecessary risk and arrived safe in the bivouac. Having Rodrigues and Santosh classified inside the Top 15 with two days to go is an excellent intermediate result for the Hero MotoSports Team Rally and their new Hero 450cc rally machine.
Today´s activities marked the first part of the two-day marathon stage. Riders are not allowed to receive outside help as they have to stay inside a closed bivouac as per the marathon stage regulations. Which means that they will have to maintain the bikes on their own without the assistance of other team members. The final two days of the rally, which ends on Tuesday at Erfoud, will decide the outcome of this last round of the FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship. The stage on Monday leads the field back to Erfoud with a 455 kilometres long special test.
Provisional Results for Stage 3 – Erfoud – Erg Lihoudi (08/10/17)
1. Ricky Brabec, USA, Honda 1:30:15 Std
2. Matthias Walkner, AUT, KTM +0:10 min
3. Pablo Quintanilla, CHI, Husqvarna +0:42
4. Adrien van Beveren, FRA, Yamaha +2:40
5. Kevin Benavides, ARG, Honda +2:57
9. Joaquim Rodrigues, POR, Hero +7:54
15. CS Santosh, IND, Hero +14:34…
Overall provisional standings after Stage 3 of 5
1. Matthias Walkner, AUT, KTM, 6:12:21 hrs
2. Kevin Benavides, ARG, Hondam +9:44 min
3. Ricky Brabec, USA, Honda, +10:57
4. Juan Pedrero, ESP, Sherco +15:17
5. Antoine Meo, FRA, KTM +16:58
6. Joaquim Rodrigues, POR, Hero, +26:45
14. CS Santosh, IND, Hero, +51:51…