The final race of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship got underway in Zagora today with a tricky special stage for all the fastest competitors. Joan Barreda chalked up the first victory. Paulo Gonçalves took up a position among the top group, which could prove crucial in the forthcoming stages.
Team HRC got the show on the road for the sixth and final date in the Cross-Country Rallies calendar and leads the scoreboard. Joan Barreda was back in action with a bang after setting a cracking pace in a far-from-easy stage, as the riders had it tough in the dust cloud generated by the front-running participants, with visibility being reduced to near zero.
Intense downpours over recent days caused river water levels to rise and led race organizers to shorten the previously planned route. As a result the route which was set to include 330 kilometres of special ended up with 370 km in total to avoid the previously mentioned dangers.
The Barreda win highlights some of the more positive aspects of the team after the rider had had to sit out three months through injury, which meant not being able to board a bike. The Spaniard showed himself to be comfortable on the bike, scoring a great triumph in the process.
Paulo Gonçalves and Paolo Ceci endured serious visibility issues due to the dust coming up from the hard track. To catch up with the slower riders ahead proved to be more difficult than previously expected; to overtake was even harder. In spite of this, the Portuguese rider was able to post a sixth final place, conceding little time to adversaries whilst doing so. Italian rider Ceci decided to take no chances with the high level of hazards around and rode a steady race.
The Honda South America Rally Team riders finished among the day’s top twenty. Jean Azevedo was the first away at the start line this morning in Zagora, which affected his performance, finishing 19th overall. Kevin Benavides’ world championship debut, backed by Team HRC, offers hope for the future with the Argentinean taking 13th place on the day.
STAGE 2 : LOOP OF THE DRÂA
– LIAISON 141 KMS – SPECIAL STAGE 224 KMS
Many sand and dunes for this 2nd stage! The race departure will be on fast and sinuous tracks across a beautiful, long valley. Navigation will be the priority of the special. A lot of care will have to be taken with the parallel paths. To get to the CP2, it will be necessary to cross some amazing dunes. To finish, competitors will pass through the Oued of Draa along kilometres of fast tracks. Pay attention to the hidden traps in the road book.
Results Stage 1
|1||Barreda Joan||SPA||Team HRC||Honda||3:36'45|
|2||Price Toby||AUS||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+1'41|
|3||Rodrigues Helder||POR||Yamaha Racing||Yamaha||+2'51|
|4||Meo Antoine||FRA||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+4'39|
|5||Quintanilla Pablo||CHI||KTM Warsaw Rally Team||KTM||+5'40|
|6||Goncalves Paulo||POR||Team HRC||Honda||+6'03|
|7||Sunderland Sam||5||GBR||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+6'26|
|8||Walkner Matthias||AUT||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+6'43|
|9||Viladoms Jordi||11||SPA||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+9'54|
|10||Pain Olivier||FRA||Nomade Racing||KTM||+13'19|
|11||Faria Ruben||8||POR||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+15'10|
|12||Pedrero Joan||SPA||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||Sherco||+19'49|
|13||Benavides Kevin||ARG||Honda South America Rally Team||Honda||20'00|
|14||Cerutti Jacopo||ITA||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+28'29|
|15||Ceci Paolo||ITA||Team HRC||Honda||+29'33|
|16||Van Beveren Adrien||FRA||Yamaha Racing||Yamaha||+30'15|
|17||de Soultrait Xavier||FRA||Yamaha Racing||Yamaha||+32'05|
|18||Piatek Jakub||POL||KTM Orlen Rally Team||KTM||+33'05|
|19||Azevedo Jean||BRA||Honda South America Rally Team||Honda||+33'08|
Now recognized as the final season’s key/most important trial of the FIM’s World Championship and last rally of the FIA World Cup the OiLibya Rally of Morocco is THE event not to miss for all the competitors and enthusiasts of rally-raid. Whether they are great champions or amateurs, each participant… read more.
|Winner 2017||Matthias Walkner (KTM)|
|Winnner 2016||Toby Price (KTM)|
|Winner 2015||Sam Sunderland (KTM)|
|Winner 2014||Marc Coma (KTM)|
|Winner 2013||Paulo Gonçalves (Honda)|
|Winner 2012||Cyril Despres (KTM)|
Zagora, Sus-Masa-Draa, Marruecos - View in Google Maps