Toyota Imperial Hilux pairing battle through longest stage of Rally Morocco 2014
At 314 km, Monday’s stage of the Rally of Morocco was not only the longest of the event, but also technically the most challenging. The route consisted of long, undulating sandy sections, which saw Giniel de Villiers and German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz (Toyota Imperial Hilux) post the fourth-fastest time today. Argentina’s Orlando Terranova (MINI X-Raid) won the stage, with Qatari driver Nasser Al-Attyah posting the second fastest time, just 1:57 behind Terranova.
“We lost a bit of time today,” said Giniel de Villiers after today’s stage, “but we are still happy with our performance. We ran some specific tests for Dakar on today’s setup, and it may not have been the best for the day’s stage. Even so, we must remember that we are here to test for Dakar, as much as trying to win the race.”
Monday’s monster stage also saw the demise of defending Dakar champion, Nani Roma (MINI X-Raid), who was forced to stop just 12 km after the start. He was seen working on his race vehicle, but was had to retire.
Contrary to Roma’s fate, Dutch driver Bernhard ten Brinke, with Tom Colsoul (Belgium) reading the notes for him, posted the third-fastest time on today’s stage. The pair brought their Overdrive Racing Toyota Hilux home just 03:00 behind Terranova, and 00:35 ahead of De Villers / Von Zitzewitz. Ten Brinke is a seasoned racing driver, having competed in a variety of disciplines including rallying, cross-country racing and Dakar (finishing 8th in 2012).
After three stages, having covered a total race distance of 801 km, it is Nasser Al-Attyah and navigator Mathieu Baumel who lead the Rally of Morocco. Terranova and Rolando Graue are in second place, 00:40 behind Al-Attyah. De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz are in third, 02:17 behind the leader, with Ten Brinke in fourth. Erik van Loon of the Netherlands, with Wouter Rosegaar as navigator, is in fifth place, but he is more than 18 minutes behind the leader.
Tuesday’s stage kicks off in the town of Zagora and ends 226 km away in the settlement of Cheggaga. The terrain in this area is mixed, with some dunes, riverbeds and hard gravel. The Rally of Morocco finishes on Thursday October 9th, with a finale in Marrakech.
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