Team HRC have made it problem-free through the technical and administrative formalities and are all set to tackle the OiLibya Morocco Rally.

It was Zagora, with 35 degrees in the shade, which welcomed the five Team HRC riders today, as the squad went through the administrative checks followed by the technical scrutineering prior to the start of the sixth and final round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. The Honda CRF450 RALLY riders can look forward to a tough test ahead, in a race which starts tomorrow, where they will do battle for victory whilst carrying out the final fine-tuning ahead of the Dakar – the pinnacle of rally season – due to get underway in just three month’s time.

Team HRC lines up their two main riders, Portuguese Paulo Goncalves – fifth in the world championship standings – and Spaniard Joan Barreda for this edition of the OiLibya Morocco Rally. The formation will also feature a new incorporation: Italian Paolo Ceci.

Furthermore, as a result of the excellent relationship between Team HRC, Honda Sudamerica and Honda South America Rally Team, the team will be reinforced with the presence of Jean Azevedo, making his first outing on the brand new Honda CRF450 RALLY and Kevin Benavides, making his debut in a rally whose points count towards the world championship.

The race will have its starting point and base in Zagora, with the first stages to be run in the area to the south of the city: the Mhamid Dune Valley, the Draa Valley and the Chegagga Erg, before the OiLibya Morocco Rally arrives for the first time at the Atlantic Coast. The race will finish in Agadir after some 1,358 kilometres of special stage.



In this first part of the Rally, competitors will have to take the rythm on fast tracks, undulations, and sometimes-trial tracks. They will have to pay attention about following the good cap and cross the Jbels, oueds on the way to the CP1. There will be the opportunity to go faster on the tracks and then to surf on dunes on the way of CP2. The second part of the stage will be on sinuous tracks and sometimes-stony tracks in a beautiful landscape. To join the finish line, competitors’ll cross the last mountain pass to contemplate the unlimited valley.

Paulo Goncalves

Today was scrutineering day and the race starts tomorrow. It will be the last one before the Dakar, the team’s main objective. We know that, as always in Morocco, it will be a long race where we are sure to find every kind of terrain, not just track and dunes, but also mountains and rocks… and it should be very technical too. We will have to keep very focused and it will be an important test to get everything ready for the big test that is just three months away. The team is very close and we are hoping to have a great race.

Joan Barreda

I’m very happy to be here after the accident four and a half months ago. This is a very important rally for me and for all the team, to get back into racing again, to get some kilometres done on the bike and to be able to finish. To be honest, I have had very good impressions after a delicate knee injury that needed some time to recover from. But the first impressions during the days before the race have been really good and we are really looking forward to beginning.

Paolo Ceci

First of all I would like to thank HRC for the chance that they have given me. For me, it is an honour to be here with this team. I’m ready to help the team in any way necessary and to help the main riders to get the best possible result – first here and but most of all in the Dakar.

Jean Azevedo

To begin with I wish to thank Team HRC for the invitation to ride with them in Morocco. For me, it is great to be here to train for the Dakar. It’s a very different race from the one in Brazil; it’s hard and it will be excellent preparation for the main race of the year, which is the Dakar. In Brazil, I competed on the 450X and that’s different from this RALLY, so this will be a great chance to race and get used to a better bike. I hope to be able to help the team to win the rally.

Kevin Benavides

I’m really pleased to be here in Morocco, my debut in the world championship. Thanks to Honda South America and to Team HRC as well, for giving me this great chance. I’m very motivated and can’t wait to get started. I hope not to let anyone down. I know that I have a lot to learn and hope to make the most of this experience.

Location Information

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