Quintanilla chases the lead in Morocco. Cornejo shines in the second stage
A fine result for Monster Energy Honda Team in the longest stage of the Rallye du Maroc. After today’s 600-kilometre-plus stage, the team remains in the battlee for the leadership with a more than satisfactory all-round result.
The playing field for the second stage, the lengthiest of the Rallye du Maroc, was the Erg Chebbi with its majestic dunes, some of them as high as 150 metres. To reach the area, riders had to face an early morning 210-kilometre liaison section. The plains, dry river beds – oueds – and several tracks well-peppered with rocks were to play a decisive role, with the roadbook often registering off-piste routes needing some deft navigation skills. By the arrival at the Zagora bivouac, the riders’ odometers were signalling 610 kilometres. The heat was another of the condiments on today’s varied menu.
José Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Cornejo produced a fine showing today, starting from seventh position. The rider from Iquique was in the battle for the win in the special stage, although eventually dropping a minute to the race leader. Nevertheless, the rider moves up the overall Rallye du Maroc standings and now lies in sixth place, less than six minutes shy of the leader.
Nacho’s fellow-countryman Pablo Quintanilla, third on the start-line, managed the stage successfully, crossing the line in third place, 2’50 behind the winner of the stage, but the Chilean from Viña del Mar moves up one position in the general standings to just 19 seconds behind the leader.
Joan Barreda set off first today after winning yesterday’s stage. The Monster Energy Honda Team rider opened the way throughout the entire day, even when team-mate Ricky Brabec pulled alongside the Spaniard. In spite of some initial hesitation, the pair managed to set an imposing pace at the head of the field, offsetting the handicap of having to face a brand new route. The immediate rivals, who started from positions further back, with the advantage of being able to monitor the navigational moves of the Honda CRF450 RALLY riders ahead, were faced with a tough task. Brabec now holds third overall and Barreda fourth in the battle for the Rallye du Maroc.
Tomorrow looks set to be another day with a reshuffle at the head of the rally leaderboard. Once again, the action will take place at the north-east of Zagora, so dunes and plenty of navigation will once again be a constant feature on the 341-kilometre special stage. The day’s total mileage will exceed 600 kilometres.
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 2020 Cancelled due the COVID-19 Pandemic
Winner 2019 Toby Price (KTM)
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)