Are you ready for the Merzouga Rally 2015?
Everything is ready for the Merzouga Rally 2015 that will take place in Morocco on October 10-16. At its 6th edition, the African rally promoted by Edo Mossi counts more than 130 competitors and 25 nations represented.
The MR welcomes the factory teams that have chosen this demanding race for their final test in preparation of the Dakar, but also the many amateurs, who like to challenge themselves in one of the most beautiful desert of the world.
The Yamaha Racing Team returns to Merzouga with a new line-up made of Alessandro Botturi, Xavier Richard De Soultrait and Adrien Van Beveren. Botturi knows the MR well, while for the French Van Beveren, the strong specialist for the races on sand such as the Touquet or the Enduro del Verano, and De Soultrait, this will be the first time. The Yamaha Team aims at being among the protagonists of the MR, where they will also do the final shakedown of the new Yamaha WR450F.
Alessandro Botturi: “The key to be among the protagonists of the Merzouga Rally is navigation. Here it counts more than the pure speed. We will race with the 2016 machine. I have tested only once, so the Merzouga will be an important test”.
The KTM factory team lines up Sam Sunderland, winner of the Merzouga Rally 2013, Matthias Walkner, the 3-time Motocross world champion who surprised everyone one, winning a stage at the Dakar 2015 in his debut year, the multiple champion Laia Sanz and the 4-time Enduro world champion Antoine Meo. Laia Sanz knows the MR well. Last year she took her first stage win and proved to be fast and accurate in the navigation.
Sam Sunderland (KTM): “I am excited to be back. It’s a tough race and I have a nice memory from taking my first rally win in 2013. It will be a good test of navigation as well as endurance for the bikes, ourselves and the team, as we will come straight from the Oil Lybia. It’s a very good opportunity doing the two races back to back and gain more kilometres before Dakar. I know from previously that Merzouga is a technical rally, where navigation is very important. It can be tricky, especially coming from the Maroc Rally, where we have common route with cars and trucks and mostly big pistes. It’s difficult to change mentality in the first days, looking for the small single pistes”.
Laia Sanz (KTM): “Merzouga is one of the best Rally I have ever done. The landscape is magnificent and navigation comes first. I wish all the rallies would be like the Merzouga Rally!! It’s an excellent training for the Dakar. Last year I won a stage and I could have finished on the podium. This year it will be more complicated considered the high level of the competitors, but I expect a very good race!”
Among the young talents to follow, a special attention goes to Armand Monleon (KTM), the winner of the China Silk Road Rally 2015. Always on a KTM there will also be Stefan Svitko, and Olivier Pain switched to the KTM of the Nomade Racing. A special attention goes also to the Spanish Txomin Arana and the Czech Ondrej Klimciv.
Himoinsa Racing presents a strong squad with Gerard Farres, Rosa Romero, Antonio Gimeno and Daniel Oliveras. The Orlen Team is back at Merzouga with a young and talented rider: Jakub Piatek.
Having a look at the entry list, a name shines among the others: Carlos Checa, former MotoGP rider and 2011 Superbike World Champion.
Carlos Checa: "I have always been fascinated by the desert and some years ago I rode in Morocco with Marc Coma. Regarding Rally Raids, everything is new for me and I’m still learning. I am not stressed by the results, I just want to enjoy the desert. I like the feeling of freedom and the variety of the route. I realized that you really start enjoying when you succeed to anticipate the next note on the roadbook. This is so different from what we are used in road racing, where we look for the limit in every meter, in every corner and you know the racetrack by heart.”
Checa will race on a Beta, as Dany Philippaerts, on the podium last year.
The quad category speak Spanish with Alejandro Feliu Sola, Eduardo Marcos Echaniz and Feranandez Covadonga, just to mention some names.
The Expert category is also well represented with the American Nathan Rafferty and Christopher Braun, the Italian Maurizio Littamé, Valter Parisi, Adriano Batoni, Waler Poggiolesi, the English Dancan Ure, the Irish Brian McGirr or the Portuguese Bruno Martins, just to mention some names.
The SSV category continues to grow. The 2014 winners Henrichy – Bersey (AT4R), re-launch the challenge to their collegues of Los Amigos (second with the crew Abel-Montagne). Among the protagonists there will be the Spanish crews of the Delfi Sport and Enjoy Quads and the Italian Checco Tonetti . the MR welcomes the two new Chinese crews of XTreme Plus.
Eric Abel: “We are happy to return to the MR!, This year Los Amigos will line up 3 SSV crews. Our target is finish on the podium. The Rally is also an opportunity f to continue our charity project in Africa. We bring more than 500 kilos of school and medical material and we support some ONG organisations that are working in the area”.
The sixth edition of the Merzouga Rally takes place in Morocco October 10-16.