Friday, 05 October 2018 11:39

Al Attiyah let’s it all hang out!

All smiles at the finish line of the Super Special, Nasser Al Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing No 306) knew that he’d already scored a moral victory over his main rivals. Completely sideways but totally under control, the Qatari driver showed off both the speed of his car and his own ability over a WRC style first half, before an impressive climb followed by a tricky descent. Another rally driver, the Czech Martin Prokop aboard his imposing Ford Raptor, celebrated his 36th birthday in style by taking the second place, just ahead of the MINI John Cooper Works of the Polish driver, Jakub Przgonski, current leader of the FIA World Cup. Just behind this trio, guaranteed the best choice of start positions tomorrow, the Toyota Gazoo Racing and Overdrives of Giniel De Villiers and Vladamir Vasilyev, closely followed by the Mini John Cooper Works Buggies of Carlos Sainz and Cyril Despres. Slowed over the second part of the Super Special by the Toyota of his Saudian teammate Yassir Seaidan, who lost considerable time when he went of the track and rolled his car, the Dutchman Bernhard Ten Brinke nevertheless managed to finish ahead of his countryman Erik Van Loon. Tenth on the day, and therefore with little choice concerning his start order, the British driver Harry Hunt (Peugeot 3008 DKR) struggled to find the compromise between grip and speed…

In T2, reserved for production cars, it was the Saudi Ahmed Al Shegawi (Toyota Land Cruiser 200) who took the honours, the current leader in the FIA World Cup for the class coming in ahead of the Nissan Y62 of Qatari driver Adel Abdulla. In the Open Class it is Jean-Antoine Sabatier and his powerful Bugga One who takes the lead, with the Franco-Moroccan’s team mate Stephane Pilon coming home second. For his desert comeback the Frenchman Philippe Gache, accompanied by the Japanese competitor Akira Miura, complete the podium…

With scrutineering over, the 2018 Rallye du Maroc officially got under way early this afternoon in Fez, with a podium start set up opposite the Grand Stade in one of the most ancient imperial towns in Morocco. On the day’s programme: a Super Special of nearly 10 kilometres, laid out just outside the city and designed to establish the start order for each of the categories for tomorrow’s stage between Fez and Erfoud.

And there off! With the bikes starting first, over a podium not far from the assistance parc, some 136 bikes, quads, SSVs, cars and trucks set off for the rally-raid equivalent of a warm up lap. A Super Special of nearly 10 kilometres, a technical challenging track in the surrounding hills. The first kilometres in rally-raid for some, a vital prelude for others, keen to get the best start position for the first real stage of the rally, which heads south tomorrow for the desert.

Liaison: 322 km - SS1A: 103 km - SS1B: 91 km - Total: 516 km



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