The Rally Du Maroc crossed over its half way mark with the completion of the second part of the Super Marathon stage today that covered a total of 540 kms including the 3 special stages totalling up to 363 kms.
For most of the competitor grid it was a really tough day with tricky navigation that saw many a riders lose their way and as a result, a lot of time.
For the Hero MotoSports Team Rally riders, it was no different with Paulo, JRod and Santosh losing significant time today in navigation errors, especially around a tricky marked waypoint on the road book that impacted Paulo the most. JRod finished today’s stage in 21st place, Paulo in 25th and Santosh in the 26thplace. After today’s stage, Paulo Goncalves is on 16th place, JRod on 17th and Santosh is on 26th place in the overall standings.
The Super Marathon stages 2 and 3, introduced the rally world to a couple of first-in-the world innovations – a « 10 min window » to work on their bikes in stage 2 and a pre-painted roadbook that was delivered just 15 min before the start of stage 3 today. It was quite encouraging to see the riders adapting very positively to these new challenges.
In stage 4 tomorrow, the competitors will take on the penultimate and the last long stage of the rally running for 408 kms, enduring more dunes and navigation challenges.
Paulo Goncalves, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, « We finished the 2 long days of the Marathon stage today. It was a really tough stage with a lot of tricky navigation. I made a navigation error today and lost a lot of time in finding my way back. It looks difficult now to achieve a top result for the team, but of course we have a couple of more days of riding left to do to help the team get more feedback on the bike, which at the moment is working perfectly. »
Joaquim Rodrigues, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, « Another difficult day came to an end today for me. Just after I started the stage, my roadbook reader stopped working and I had to do the full stage manually which was really tough. Then there was a particular waypoint where everyone one lost a lot of time and me too, so I decided to just take it easy today and finish the stage safely. »
C S Santosh, Rider, Hero MotoSports Team Rally said, « It was a really long and exhausting day today with over 500kms done in the heat and dust.There were fast tracksin the first half and there were also some parts with really tricky navigation, especially in the river beds, where I got lost a couple of times and lost a fair bit of time. Really happy to see the back of this long, exhausting stage and now we rest to recover for the next stage tomorrow. »
Provisional Results of the Stage 3
1. Toby Price, RedBull KTM Factory Racing, 03h 40m 33s
2. Matthias Walkner, RedBull KTM Factory Racing, +01m 55s
3. Franco Caimi, Yamaha Rally Team, +02m 21s…
21. Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +28m 14s…
25. Paulo Goncalves, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +45m 07s
26. C S Santosh, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +49m 57s…
Provisional Overall Results at the end of the Stage 3
1. Toby Price, RedBull KTM Factory Racing, 11h 57m 39s
2. Matthias Walkner, RedBull KTM Factory Racing, +04m 06s
3. Franco Caimi, Yamaha Rally Team, +06m 40s…
16. Paulo Goncalves, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +58m 23s
17. Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +58m 48s…
26. C S Santosh, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +03h 30m 31s…