Team HRC Rally will now take stock of last week’s participation in the Afriquia Merzouga Rally. For the revamped team it was far more that just a victory: it was a display of fine teamwork, sound choice of riders and clear evidence that the team’s new work ethos is functioning.
The Afriquia Merzouga Rally put over 120 riders and teams through their paces. The race – the first of the Dakar Series – featured an even tougher course with a higher level of difficulty.
Team HRC grabbed the glory with super-charged Argentinean prodigy Kevin Benavides. Kevin first snatched victory in the prologue and after won the crucial third stage. In the fourth and penultimate stage, Benavides displayed a fine blend of concentration and riding skill, opening the track and staying ahead of the pack until the chequered flag. In the final stage – the Gran Prix des Dunes – the Team HRC rider kept his adversaries carefully in check to seal the final overall rally triumph.
Kevin Benavides’ Team HRC comrade, American Ricky Brabec, got a full-immersion course in navigation at the Afriquia Merzouga Rally. On the Honda CRF450 RALLY, he was able to experience cross-country rally navigation at its harshest. In spite of all, the American proved himself to be very quick and an overall sixth place verified this. Brabec has been able to finish all the races disputed so far in Team HRC livery.
Next week from 2nd June sees the Sardegna Rally Race, the third race in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies Championship. Team HRC will take part with Kevin Benavides, who will be supported by the Italian structure RS Moto Honda Rally Team.
Final Standings Afriquia Merzouga Rally 2016
|1||Benavides Kevin||ARG||Team HRC||Honda||15:02'40|
|2||Svitko Stefan||SLO||Slovnaft Team||KTM||+3'32|
|3||Van Beveren Adrien||FRA||Yamaha Motor Europe||Yamaha||+9'57|
|4||Farres Gerard||SPA||Himoinsa Team||KTM||+15'57|
|5||Rodrigues Helder||POR||Yamaha Motor Europe||Yamaha||+16'40|
|6||Brabec Ricky||USA||Team HRC||Honda||+52'03|
|7||Cornejo José Ignacio 'Nacho'||CHI||XRaids||KTM||+1:19'35|
|8||Nosiglia Daniel||BOL||HT Husqvarna Rally Team||Husqvarna||+2:14'34|
|9||Rodrigues Joaquim||POR||Hero Motorsports Team Rally||Hero||+2:46'28|
|10||Reis Gonçalo||POR||Team Sol Posto||KTM||+3:02'59|