Rallye du Maroc 2019: Quintanilla wins tough first stage

Rallye du Maroc 2019: Quintanilla wins tough first stage

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After two days dedicated to scrutineering at the Hotel Marriott in Fez, 153 race vehicles set off this morning direction Erfoud for the first stage of the 2019 Rallye du Maroc.

Very technical in the mountains and rocky over the first part, the 226 km special for the FIA cars and FIM bikes and 204 km for the Maroc Telecom SSVs, Open and Enduro Cup Afriquia, became more rolling after the first 160 kms. At the end the FIA car and FIM bike competitors headed into a section of camel grass and small dunes while the Maroc Telecom SSVs, Open and Enduro Cup Afriquia categories went directly to the end of the special at the bivouac. This first stage was the chance for the competitors to try out the new colour road book.

Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) couldn’t have hoped for better for this first stage of the 2019 Rallye du Maroc. Starting 18th this morning, the Chilean rider rode a good pace over the first kilometres, negotiating the tricky navigation to finally post the fastest time at the 2019 Rallye du Maroc bivouac. The Husqvarna rider beat the KTM of Sam Sunderland (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) into second place by 40” with the American Ricky Brabec (Honda) third at 1’31”. Overall, with the prologue times having a coefficient 4, Sam Sunderland is this evening’s overall leader 28” ahead of Quintanilla, with Brabec third at 1’07”. In the quads victory went to the Chilean Ignacio Casale (Yamaha Raptor) just ahead of the Frenchman Alexandre Giroud (Yamaha Raptor) with the Pole Sonik Rafal third. Alex Dutrie (Team Drag’on) lost considerably time when he broke his left-hand drive shaft.

Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing): “For a first day it was a really tough one. Almost all the stage was really stony, tricky and technical. In the end the tyre was not so good and the bike was moving a lot. And we had to get used to the new system of road book. It is not easy when you are used to using your own system, so we need some time to learn it. For everybody it is the same. Honestly I didn’t feel so good. I still have a lot of pain in my leg when I have to push, so I tried to stay calm and not take risks.”

Sam Sunderland (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing): “It was the first day with the new road book. You had to be careful. My tyres are destroyed but we knew that was going to happen. Everybody was in the same situation. We just had to do our best.”

Paulo Goncalves (Hero Motosports Team Rally): “A complicated stage. Stony and a lot of trials type terrain. A tough start to this Rallye du Maroc. But I arrive here without problems. The Hero was working well and I’m ready for tomorrow.”

Ricky Brabec (Monster Energy Honda Team): “I didn’t really make any mistakes all day. I was riding really slow and trying to be cautious. I slowed down a couple of times to check things but I never rode around in circles. The first half was very difficult for me, especially with the new road book. The second however was really good for me. A lot of rocks and I really enjoy that.”

Adrien Van Beveren (Yamalube Yamaha Rally Team): “I have been ill these last couple of days and this morning it started again. I did the best I could – it was very long and very hard, not much fun for me. Lots of stones. I didn’t have a great time…”

Joan Barreda (Monster Energy Honda Team): “Difficult, a lot of trials. We spent a lot of time in 1st gear. We were expecting a faster stage. The pace was slow. These stages are not very easy, so I just tried to finish and make a good job. Only the last bit was a bit easier in the dunettes.”

Andrew Short (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing): “I didn’t feel so comfortable. It was really slippery, and I don’t think I made the right choice with the tyre. Navigation was ok.”

Rafal Sonik (Sonik Team): “I did this stage last year in the opposite direction and I had quite a big lead and I was thinking how lucky I was not to have to push because in some places it is very tricky. Today I had to fight but I was trying to not push too hard because so much could have gone wrong. Extremely demanding stage.”



Source Rallye du Maroc official press release  / Photo DPPI

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