Rallye du Maroc 2019: D-2 -- Place your bets!

Rallye du Maroc 2019: D-2 -- Place your bets!

Pin It

Ahead of the favourites in the car and truck categories tomorrow, the competitors in the bike, quad and SSVs passed through scrutineering today at the Marriott hotel in Fès. And everyone got through this crucial stage without problems, meaning all the challengers for final victory will be present and correct at the start of the prologue on Friday.

The organisers of the Rallye du Maroc 2019 were up early this morning to welcome the first competitors to scrutineering. Two days from the start of the twentieth edition of the Rallye du Maroc good humour reigned among both the competitors and the organisers. For ODC Events this first rendez vous was the culmination of a whole year’s work. And if the rookie competitors were impatient to discover the Moroccan desert and the universe of rally-raid, for the professionals these formalities marked the beginning of the last straight leading up to the 2020 Dakar.

No surprise then that all the factory motorcycle teams were present. Meaning that potential winners are not in short supply. Starting with Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and the KTM armada. The Australian title holder and 2019 Dakar winner has plenty of challengers from his own team, starting with Sam Sunderland (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), already crowned FIM World Champion, who will no doubt attempt to celebrate his title in the best possible manner. First in line looking to break KTM’s Rallye du Maroc stranglehold, that they’ve maintained since 2014, are the Hondas of Joan Barreda (Monster Energy Honda Team) and his teammate Ricky Brabrec. The American in particular will be looking to take his revenge after his 2019 Dakar was brutally interrupted by a broken engine, while he was leading the race. Also in the hunt will be Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing), back after having injured his ankle on the last Dakar and the Yamahas of Frenchmen Xavier de Soultrait (Yamalube Yamaha Rally Team) and Adrien Van Beveren. Johnny Aubert (Sherco TVS Rally Factory), back in rally-raid, is also a serious outsider, as is Paulo Goncalves (Hero Motorsports Team Rally), a previous winner of the Rallye du Maroc back in 2013.

22 bikes will race for the Enduro Cup Afriquia classification, in a category where the emphasis is on discovering the terrain and enjoying the riding.

In the quad category Rafal Somik (Sonik Team), already titled like Sam Sunderland (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), is going to have to fight it out with Aleksandr Maksimov (Mari Team) and Axel Dutrie (Drag’on).

The battle in the SSV Maroc Telecom category would appear even more open. The pairing of ex-bike riders Gérard Farrès and Armand Monleón (Monster Energy Can-Am) must be considered as front runners, as are their teammates, the promising American Casey Currie (Monster Energy Can-Am) and Reinaldo Varela (Monster Energy Can-Am). Up against them are ex-Rallye du Maroc winners Aron Domzala (South Racing Can-Am) in 2016 and Sergei Kariakin (SNAG Racing Team) in 2017 and 2018. The Moroccan driver Sorhmat Anas (Team Sodicars), motorbike rider in US, backed by OCP, will also be giving it his all at his ‘home’ rally.


Ricky Brabec (Monster Energy Honda Team): “I’m really happy to be here. I like the desert in Morocco. It will be a pretty intense race with the new road book and the nights in the bivouac in the desert. It’s a new kind of rally, a real adventure! I want to get going. I would like to win this rally but it isn’t going to be easy because all the good guys are here. I like the idea of the super marathon stages. Managing the bike is going to be more important than ever.”

Xavier De Soultrait (Yamalube Yamaha Rally Team): “It is very important for the team to take part in the Rallye du Maroc, so as to understand the philosophy put in place by David Castera for the Dakar. We are very happy with the development of the bike. We will see out on the tracks how well it all works. We don’t have an inferiority complex. We are looking forward to measuring ourselves against the best. It is the only chance before the Dakar.”

Paulo Goncalves (Hero Motorsports Team Rally):This is my first race in Morocco with the Hero Motorsports Team Rally. We have done a lot of work on the bike. We ready to fight it out on the track. Our objective is to get a maximum amount of info on the bike and finish the race without any problems. The new rules concerning the distribution of the road book are very interesting. It is what the discipline needs.”

Laia Sanz (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing): I couldn’t come last year and I’m very happy to be here now. The new rules even out everyone’s chances. It is a good thing! We are in the spirit of rally-raid. My goal is to train for the Dakar and arrive in Saudi Arabia feeling confident.”

Sam Sunderland (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing): “I can afford to relax a bit on this last round of the World Championship because I’ve already won it, but it is nevertheless important to be here in Morocco as it is the last race before Dakar. Everybody wants to be on form. I’m looking forward to it. This year we’re staying in a bivouac which is cool – rally style – and a nice change. And I’m looking forward to the adventure heading down from Fez to the dunes and back. A rally should always go somewhere and this one does, so that’s cool as well.”

Johnny Aubert (Sherco TVS Rally Factory): “Really happy to be back in rally-raid with Sherco. We have a good team, good teammates. This is the first time I have ridden as much with the objective of racing the Dakar. I don’t really have any ambitions for the race here. I haven’t ridden the bike much, my navigation is a bit rusty. I just want to gain experience and finish not too badly and get ready for January.”

Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing): “Not the best build up to this race, I’ve been a little bit ill these last few days, but starting to feel better now. Looking forward to the race, it is always a challenge here. No big plan for me, just make sure I stay fit, healthy and safe and go to the Dakar in shape. It will also be a chance to get used to the new road book they’re using. I think it is going to be good, basically it will level us all out. Anyone who has a good day is going to love it, anyone who has a bad day is going to hate it.”

Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna): After the crash in Dakar I’m still not 100% fit, still some pain, so the important thing now is to do some kilometres in the desert. Really happy to be here, but my main goal for sure is the Dakar.”

Axel Dutrie (Drag’on): “This is my third Rallye du Maroc but my first in FIM. Before I raced in the Enduro Cup. This year I’ve made the switch and will be able to compare myself with the best. My goal is tO finish preparing my 700cc quad and fight with the top riders. Without mechanical problems I hope to be on the podium in my category.”

Gérard Farrès (Monster Energy Can-Am): “This the third time I have raced with Armand. I think we make a good team, very complimentary. We are here to see if we can improve ahead of the next Dakar. We are going for a good result without taking too many risks.” 

Casey Currie (Monster Energy Can-Am): “This is my first time on the Rallye du Maroc. I know the terrain a little. It seems similar to what we can find in the USA. It is the first time also with my co-driver. We’ll see how it goes and try and improve for the Dakar. We are here to learn and improve the car”

Source Rallye du Maroc


Pin It

Related Articles