Loeb back in the hunt


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Laayoune, 3 October







1st – 6th October 2022












In the bikes victory on the stage went to Monster Energy Honda rider Adrien Van Beveren, his first in red. In the cars Sebastien Loeb did better than bounce back. Taking advantage of Nasser Al Attiyah’s four punctures, the world championship leader won the stage to take back the lead in the overall rankings. The Qatari is now 7th overall, more than half an hour behind the Frenchman. The two other Hunters of Terranova and Chicherit complete the day’s podium to occupy the first three places overall – an unprecedented hat-trick for the Prodrive team.








© Rallye du Maroc – DPPI

© Rallye du Maroc – DPPI







Up until the refuelling the motorcycle race was going pretty much as expected. Then some tricky navigation and some very soft sand momentarily tripped up the leaders and allowed Adrien Van Beveren (Monster Energy Honda) to take his first special win for Honda on only his second ever stage with his new team. It could have been much more costly for the likes of Skyler Howes (Husqvarna Factory Racing) and teammate Luciano Benavides, who were leading for much of the stage, but in the end they came out of it surprisingly well, with Skyler taking the overall lead ahead of Toby Price (Red Bull kTM Factory Racing) and Luciano Benavides. Even piste opener Ross Branch (Hero Motosports) didn’t suffer too much. As expected, he lost 16 places on the stage but despite that he is still 6th overall this evening, only 4’33 behind the leader. As his team manager commented, on Ross’s arrival at the bivouac, “you can win this rally if even if you have 2 bad days, providing you have 3 very good days.” The man who didn’t have a good day on the run down to Laayoune was Mason Klein. At one time the Rally2 rider was even leading overall, until he lost concentration after stopping to bend his chain guard straight. That allowed Romain Dumontier to win the day ahead of Mathieu Doveze, but despite finishing 8’29 behind the leader, Klein is still a staggering 21’15 in the lead of Rally2 overall. Rally3 was once again won by the Moroccan Amine Echiguer who now leads the class by 26’50. In the quads yesterday’s leader Axel Giroud drops out of contention after breaking his engine. 

In the cars, after a bad day yesterday (broken triangle and two punctures), Sebastien Loeb had an almost perfect day today (only one puncture) while Nasser Al Attiyah suffered a grand total of four punctures! With two spares on board, that was two too many for the Qatari who lost 53’58 waiting for team-mates Yacopini and Van Loon to pass him their spares. Orly” Terranova finished 10’15 behind Loeb while Chicherit (4 punctures like Al Attiyah) managed to finish third at 18’08. The podium was 100% Hunter and the provisional standings are identical, a double first on a W2RC event for the brand that only appeared on the Dakar last January! In the overall standings, Loeb is just 8 seconds ahead of his Argentinian teammate from Bahrain Raid Xtreme and 4’20 ahead of the GCK Motorsport driver. This morning’s leader, Al Rajhi is 4th at 9’37. Al Attiyah is at 33’18 tonight. In the Open category, the three Audis are continuing their tests, though their times today would put them in the top five in the FIA car category.

In T3, Guillaume de Mevius and his new co-driver François Cazalet posted their first victory for the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team ahead of Lopez (Can-Am Factory South Racing) and Guttierez, who was less than a minute behind the Chilean. It should be noted that the Belgian leader of the day set the 7th fastest time in the FIA category. In the general standings, “Chaleco” retains the lead with a six-minute advantage over Quintero (Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA) and nearly a quarter of an hour over the Spanish driver. In T4, Pau Navarro (FN Speed) won at the tender age of 18 ahead of Jeremias Gonzales Ferioli (South Racing Can-Am) and Australian Molly Taylor (South Racing Can-Am). Ferioli is the overall leader, ahead of Baciuska (South Racing Can-Am) and the young Bruno Conti De Oliveira (South Racing Can-Am). In T5, Macik (MM Technology) is ahead of Zuurmond (Riwald Dakar) and the Italian Bellina (MM Technology). Overall, the Czech has more than an hour on Zuurmond (Rainbow Truck) and Bellina.



Exactly one year ago an unknown 19 year old American by the name of Mason Klein turned up at the Rallye du Maroc and grabbed everyone’s attention by winning the Rally2 category. That got him his entry ticket for the 2022 Dakar where not only did he win the Rally2 race but finished 9th overall! In the ultra-competitive bike category, featuring 16 or 17 professional riders on factory machinery, it was an almost unbelievable achievement… so nobody was particularly surprised when he won the Rally2 category of the second round of W2RC in Abu Dhabi at the end of March this year. Just as nobody was particularly surprised when he won yesterday’s first stage here in Morocco in Rally2 while mixing it with the front runners in RallyGP. What continues to surprise many in the bivouac is the lanky young man’s approach to the discipline. For a start he is clearly a perfectionist. He still only has a very few races under his belt but if ever he makes a mistake – which doesn’t happen very often – he is ruthlessly self-critical. He is also has an analytical approach to rally raid way beyond his years. Most 19 years just want to go out on their bikes and blast around. Not Mason Klein. What rocks his world are the nuances of navigation and the intricacies of the tactics employed by his rivals, stuff he absorbs like a sponge. But perhaps the most impressive facet of Mason’s personality is his ambition, totally in phase with his talent. He’s not big headed but neither does he have any false modesty, he’s just honest. He wants to open the stage, he wants to move up to a factory team, he wants to move up to RallyGP and of course he wants to win the Dakar. And you get the feeling that all of that is within his grasp in a relatively reduced time frame.



The venerable Toyota Land Cruiser 200, that has been competing in the Dakar in the T2 category for the past 14 years under the Toyota AutoBody banner was quietly retired last January in Jeddah after an impressive 12 victories in the category. It has been replaced by the new generation Land Cruiser, the 300 series, that makes its official racing debut here on the Rallye du Maroc. With an off-the-shelf engine, transmission and gearbox, the challenge is to overcome the problems inherent in racing a 3-ton T2 production vehicle off-road. Just like Nasser Al Attiyah’s Hilux T1+, the 300 has been prepared by Toyota Gazoo Racing. The two Franco-Japanese crews racing the cars will be at the start of the next Dakar with the aim of once again winning the category reserved for production based vehicles.



The ‘charm’ of rally raid is that every day brings its share of surprises – as the top guns in W2RC have seen again today with Sebastien Loeb (Toyota Gazoo Racing) back in the fight with Nasser Al Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing). Other leaders who shone: ‘ChalecoLopez (South Racing Can-Am) in T3, Amine Echiguer in Rally 3 and Martin Macik (MM Technology) in T5, all repeating yesterday’s victories and extending their leads in the Rallye du Maroc standings. Mason Klein (BAS World KTM Racing) in Rally2 and Sam Sunderland (GasGas Factory Racing) in RallyGP conceded time but are still in contention for victory. On the other hand Marek Goczal in T4, who had an electrical problem and Alexandre Giroud in the quads who broke his engine are now out of the running.




Adrien Van Beveren (Monster Energy Honda)

“Obviously I’m delighted to win a world championship special especially on my second stage with the Honda. I’m starting to feel more relaxed on the bike but I won the stage above all thanks to some precise navigation, even if I got lost 4 or 5 minutes before the refuelling. After that we had a long CAP of 20 kilometres with a waypoint at the end and I really concentrated to catch that. I also pushed hard in the sand at the end. Obviously tomorrow I’m going to have to open but we’ll go step by step.”



Stage 3 : LaâyouneLaâyoune

Liaison : 23 km /  SS : 299 km (93%) / total : 322 km


The most difficult special of the rally

David Castera: “The third stage will be the most difficult, with a lot of dunes at the beginning. We had to give up crossing them in the planned direction because it was not possible to get over so many of them. So, we will take them with the break in the direction of the descent. Then it will be a mix of visible and less visible tracks on plateaus similar to those you find in Saudi Arabia, to finish on more technical tracks. There is everything in this special stage, which will take place in three acts. It will bring together the three ingredients that make this edition so special. It is the one that will require the pilots and navigators to be the most complete.”








Best of photos / Quotes / press releases ( 10 / 02)



Best of photos / Quotes / press releases ( 10 / 03)



Vidéos : news programme 10 / 03










#rallyedumaroc           #W2RC


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Matthieu Perez – media@rallyedumaroc.com



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