Kevin Benavides arrived victorious at the bivouac in Erfoud after taking a second consecutive triumph for Team HRC in the Morocco Rally. It was the Argentine’s first Cross-Country Rallies World Championship win. Teammates Paulo Gonçalves and Ricky Brabec were to experience the other side of the coin in the second marathon stage.
The third day of racing got underway this morning from the camp at M’Hamid, at the foot of the dunes, for the second leg of the marathon stage. Riders had left the bikes in the parc ferme the night before – only the competitors themselves were allowed to work on the machines with no external mechanical assistance permitted. The Hondas of Gonçalves, Brabec and Benavides made it through the first stage without a hitch.
Team HRC’s Argentinean rider Kevin Benavides, setting off from seventh position, was determined to make up the lost time from yesterday’s debacle. The rider had been stopped and forced to get off the bike by the Moroccan army at gunpoint. Today, with the bad experience firmly behind him, he got his first taste of world championship victory with a stage win. He took the lead 200 kilometres into the special and arrived in Erfoud with a difference of 51 seconds over Toby Price, the nearest second place rival. Kevin moves up from fifth to third place in the overall standings just three minutes off first place.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t all good news. As the race got underway American Ricky Brabec unexpectedly stopped. The rider did what he could to try and find out what the problem was, but was effectively out of the race at kilometre 50 on the day. Once he had ruled out the possibility of a mechanical failure, Brabec checked over the electrical system. Subsequently, he was able to get the bike running again and back on to the nearest road, heading straight back to the bivouac.
Likewise Paulo Gonçalves found his machine cutting out suddenly near Tafraoute Sidi Ali. The mechanical and technical team are now investigating the exact origin of the troubles that put an end to the race of the Portuguese at kilometre 140 of the special stage.
The fourth stage to be held tomorrow is set to have 319 kilometres of timed special in a stage that will feature 376 kilometres in total (85% against the clock). The race is due to take place in the surroundings of Erfoud.
Provisional results Stage 3
|1||Benavides Kevin||ARG||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||3:13'05|
|2||Price Toby||AUS||KTM Factory Racing Team||KTM||+00'51|
|3||Walkner Matthias||AUT||KTM Factory Racing Team||KTM||+01'04|
|4||Sunderland Sam||GBR||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+01'28|
|5||Quintanilla Pablo||CHI||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+03'00|
|6||de Soultrait Xavier||FRA||Yamaha Racing||Yamaha||+06'32|
|7||Renet Pierre-Alexandre||FRA||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+07'01|
|8||Rodrigues Helder||5||POR||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||Yamaha||+08'09|
|9||Faggotter Rodney||AUS||Yamaha Racing||Yamaha||+08'29|
|10||Pedrero Joan||SPA||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||Sherco||+10'02|
|11||Van Beveren Adrien||4||FRA||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||Yamaha||+12'07|
|12||Metge Adrien||24||FRA||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||Sherco||+20'15|
|14||Rodrigues Joaquim||27||POR||Hero Motorsports Team Rally||Hero||+32'33|
Provisional Standings after Stage 3
|1||Price Toby||AUS||KTM Factory Racing Team||KTM||6:55'26|
|2||Sunderland Sam||GBR||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+1'58|
|3||Benavides Kevin||ARG||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+2'29|
|4||Quintanilla Pablo||CHI||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+11'16|
|5||Rodrigues Helder||5||POR||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||Yamaha||+15'06|
|6||de Soultrait Xavier||FRA||Yamaha Racing||Yamaha||+17'28|
|7||Van Beveren Adrien||4||FRA||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||Yamaha||+19'30|
|8||Pedrero Joan||SPA||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||Sherco||+21'54|
|9||Renet Pierre-Alexandre||FRA||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+32'44|
|10||Walkner Matthias||AUT||KTM Factory Racing Team||KTM||+33'34|
|11||Faggotter Rodney||AUS||Yamaha Racing||Yamaha||+40'24|
|13||Santolino Lorenzo||SPA||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||Sherco||+49'24|
|14||Metge Adrien||24||FRA||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||Sherco||+52'06|
Morocco has always been a land of rally raid. The story began in 1982 with the arrival of Paris-Agadir, the first rally raid to run in Morocco. The following year, the rally took the name of ‘Atlas Rally’ and became the flagship rally to the Rally Raids calendar. The Atlas… read more.
|Winner 2018||Toby Price (KTM)|
|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)|
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