Team HRC’s Argentinean rider Kevin Benavides has sealed overall victory in the Afriquia Merzouga Rally, which closed today in the dunes of Merzouga. Benavides kept the field in check after the motocross-style start, crossing the finishing-line in second place. Brabec posted sixth on the day as well as sixth in the general rankings.
It was the first race as part of the official HRC team and a first win too. The budding young Argentinean shone throughout the whole week and stormed to an overall triumph in the Afriquia Merzouga Rally. The back of the victory had been broken in the dunes of Morocco’s Erg Chebbi.
Benavides had placed himself in a virtually unbeatable position yesterday ahead of today’s final stage which got underway with a motocross-like start in the Lago Yasmina Erg Chebbi area. The wins in stages three and four consolidated the Argentine’s domination of the event and paved the way for today’s celebrations in the Team HRC camp.
This is the second time Team HRC have clinched the Merzouga Rally title. In 2013 it was Briton Sam Sunderland who took the Honda CRF450 RALLY to the top step of the rostrum.
Benavides’ Team HRC companion Ricky Brabec (U.S.A) wound up in sixth place overall, improving daily with such a steep learning curve of tough navigation. The apprenticeship in navigation has been the rider’s main goal over the course of the five-day rally.
The next outing for Team HRC will be the third round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, the Sardegna Rally Race. Kevin Benavides once again participates, this time under the auspices of Team RS Moto.
Results Stage 5
|1||Van Beveren Adrien||FRA||Yamaha Motor Europe||Yamaha||1:21'31|
|2||Benavides Kevin||ARG||Team HRC||Honda||+1'39|
|3||Svitko Stefan||SLO||Slovnaft Team||KTM||+2'06|
|4||Reis Gonçalo||POR||Team Sol Posto||KTM||+2'42|
|5||Rodrigues Joaquim||POR||Hero Motorsports Team Rally||Hero||+2'43|
|6||Brabec Ricky||USA||Team HRC||Honda||+2'46|
|7||Rodrigues Joaquim||POR||Hero Motorsports Team Rally||Hero||+5'26|
|8||Farres Gerard||SPA||Himoinsa Team||KTM||+5'27|
|9||Cornejo José Ignacio 'Nacho'||CHI||XRaids||KTM||+5'28|
|10||Oliveira Pedro||POR||CRN Competition||Yamaha||+5'31|
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|