Merzouga Rally: Gerard Farres wins the SS2


Clemens Eicker claims the victory on his E-ATV while the French crew Labille-Niveau  (Motricity) wins in the SSV category.

It was a demanding and long day: a total of 582 km with 2 selective stages and 85 km of neutralisation. The competitors took the start heading into the big dunes of Merzouga for the first 31 km of selective stage. It was a full immersion in the sand before tackling the second selective stage of 150 km of fast tracks over the plateau between Boudnib and Er Rachidia with some technical and hard enduro paths. 

Stefan Svitko (KTM) opened the track for the whole stage, leading the way at the CP1, the CP3 till the finish line. He was already tasting the win, but in the end it was the Spanish rider of Himoinsa Racing Gerard Farres who started 6th and claimed todays’ victory by 1’18 on Van Beveren (Yamaha) and 1’33 on Svitko. The provisional standing sees Benavides (HRC) 4th and Rodrigues (Yamaha) 5th with the first top 5 riders all closed in 5 minutes after a 582 km long stage. 


Among the most promising riders, to signal the 8th place of Jose Ignacio Cornejo (KTM), the 21 Chilean rider from Iquique, at Merzouga to improve the navigation and the technical riding, the performance of the Bolivian Daniel Nosiglia, 9th, the 11th position of the Portuguese Joaquim Rodrigues (Hero) while Arnold Brucy (KTM), son of Jean Brucy finished 20th.    

The German Clemens Eicker put up a strong performance on board of his E-ATV, repeating yesterday’s great performance. He claimed the win in front of the Czech Kubiena (KTM), second at + 2’42  and Machacek (Yamaha) third at + 6’21.  Simon Vitse and Ali Anaam completed the top 5. At his first rally, the Moroccan rider used all his experience and knowledge of the region to set an incredible 5th place. It was a pity for the Spanish rider Diego Ortega Gil of the Delfi Sport who crashed and heavily damaged his Yamaha. He hopes to be able to fix the quad and start tomorrow. 

It was a hard fought battle in the ssv category with the top crews arriving very close.  The French crew of Labille-Niveau of the Motricity Team (Polaris) claimed today’s win ahead of the duo Tonetti – Roman on a Yamaha at +1’10 and the French crew Pitout – Delaunay (XTreme Plus), third at 1’12. Enrichy – Bersey and Gounon – Michel complete the top 5.  It was a very bad day for the Spanish team from Melilla Medero-Ventaja, who couldn’t finish the stage for a mechanical problem and Abel – Manez of Los Amigos, who struggled for the extreme heat. 

Adrien Van Beveren: 
“I’m satisfied. I had a good feeling with my Yamaha, which is a step forward compared to the one we used on the Dakar. I liked the dunes but also the fast tracks of the second selective stage”.   

Jose Ignacio Cornejo:
“Rally is a way to discover new countries and it’s great for me to have the chance to know this beautiful region of Morocco. I’m used at the dunes but I need to improve the navigation and the technical riding on the rocks and the fast tracks. Yesterday I made some navigation mistakes, but today it went much better, while I struggled in the last part of the 2nd stage when we had to climb down a rocky path. I’m riding to train for the Dakar. Last year we had to retire at the 5th stage so I’m getting ready to return stronger. It’s great to see many South American guys in the rallies and it’s promising that some of us have an official seat like Benavides in the HRC Rally Team and Quintanilla with Husqvarna. This gives me an extra boost”. 

Joaquim Rodrigues: 
“I come from Motocross and Supercross and I have done also some Enduro and extreme Enduro, but rally raid is another world. Here more than speed counts managing the emotions and reading the road book. It’s really exciting. In addition, I’m proud to start this new adventure with an important project such as the Hero Motorcycles, teaming up with CS Santosh, a great guy and a star in India”.    

Diego Ortega Gil: 
“We will try to fix my quad because it’s quiet damaged after the crash i had today. I’m ok, and this is the most important thing. This year the competition in quad is exciting and I hope we can take the start tomorrow”. 

Labille – Niveau: 
“It was a perfect day. We enjoyed the dunes and the fast tracks and we were able to keep a good pace despite the extreme heat. We are really happy of this result”.

“It’s a pleasure to ride when the machine works really well! We also did a good tyre choice, taking the start with the “Maxxis”, the hardest model of Mongrel. We are enjoying the rally!”