The waiting is over and action is back in the World Rally Raid Championship! Today it was time for the first competitive moment of this years Rallye du Maroc, with a 19 kilometers prologue with start and arrival at the coastal city of Agadir.
Dakar winner Ricky Brabec was second overall, sharing the same time of 11′03 with the prologue winner, a fact that made the organization apply the tie-breaking rule to count the tenths of seconds. Skyler Howes crash at the prologue in his the first race dressed in red and the American is no longer in competition. Since he was feeling some pain in his knee and back, the team decided that was best for him to exit in order not to compromise his ambition for the next Dakar Rally. Pablo Quintanilla was the second fastest rider to reach the bivouac. Adrien Van Beveren was 11th overall, while José Ignacio Cornejo was 13th.
Tomorrow it will be a long day with the first stage and the connection between Agadir and Zagora, which means almost 700 kilometers. This trip to the south of the Kingdom Morocco will mix gravel tracks, dirt tracks, sand and dunes. The liaison will be 397 km long, while the Special Stage consists of 314 Km.
Ruben Faria – General Manager : « Here we are back in Morocco to race the last stage of the World Rally Raid Championship, a competition that is not only the end of the season but also a great opportunity to prepare for the next Dakar Rally. Our riders were fast and competitive, but we also feel some sadness by leaving one behind – unfortunately Skyler Howes crashed and had to leave the race. Ricky was second and did very well, the same goes with Pablo in 5th. Adrien didn’t feel so comfortable and had arm pump and Nacho had some difficulties with the track that was not his style. We are aware of the hard days ahead of us, starting with tomorrow. Stage 1will be very demanding and riders will leave the bivouac at 4 am. »
Ricky Brabec #2 : « This was a good prologue and now I am looking forward to doing five more stages here at the Rallye du Maroc. I am happy to be here with the team and doing great. Today it was only a warmup, so let’s keep the focus. » Adrien Van Beveren 42
Adrien Van Beveren #42 : « Today was not such a good day for me, because I did not feel so confident on the bike. Now we need to focus on tomorrow to do a good stage. The race will only start tomorrow. »
Pablo Quintanilla #7 : « So we have just started the Rallye du Maroc with the prologue, it was a little bit longer than what we usually do. This was our first chance to have contact with the race and with the terrain. Personally this was a normal day for me and I’ve got a good position that allows me to have a good starting order for tomorrow. »
José Ignacio Cornejo #11 : « The prologue is behind us and it was great to finally get a chance to release the tension. I had a good feeling, sure we can always improve, but I’m glad I have a good starting position for tomorrow. The Rallye du Maroc is always hard and I am confident to face the days to come. »
Provisional Standings Prologue
1. Schareina Tosha – SPA – Honda Team, 11:03
2. Brabec Ricky – USA – Monster Energy Honda Team, 11:03
3. Evan Branch Ross – BWA – Hero Motorsports Team Rally, 11:05
4. Price Toby – AUS – Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team, 11:13
5. Quintanilla Pablo – CHI – Monster Energy Honda Team, 11:17
6. Walkner Matthias – AUT – Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team, 11:21
7. Benavides Luciano – ARG – Husqvarna Factory Racing, 11:27
8. Santolino Lorenzo – SPA – Sherco TVS Rally Factory, 11:33…
11. Van Beveren Adrien – FRA – Monster Energy Honda Team, 11:48…
13. Cornejo José Ignacio – CHI Monster Energy Honda Team, 12:02…