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Desert racing royalty makes lightening start at 2018 Rallye du Maroc

Desert racing royalty makes lightening start at Rallye du Maroc

Dakar heavyweights head to Rallye du Maroc for final tune-up

(clockwise) Toby Price, Matthias Walkner, Cyril Despres & Nasser Al-Attiyah © Kin Marcin/Red Bull Content Pool

Friday, October 5
Fes, Morocco

A flat-out prologue leg has kicked off the 2018 Rallye du Maroc and put some familiar faces in early control of the race. The Red Bull KTM Factory Team dominated the bike race by claiming all three podium spots in Morocco. Over in the car race it was sand racing specialist Nasser Al-Attiyah who went quickest over the 10-kilometre course.

As the Red Bull KTM Factory Team warm up for next January’s Dakar Rally in Peru their aim is clear. In South America the Austrian-based team will go for an unprecedented 18th consecutive Dakar bike race title. If the first day’s racing at Rallye du Maroc is anything to go by, they look set to taste victory once again at motorsports’ toughest test of endurance.

The first KTM biker home on Thursday’s prologue in Fes, Morocco was 2016 Dakar champion Toby Price of Australia. Price’s time of 8 minutes 47 seconds saw him beat team-mate Matthias Walkner of Austria by 10 seconds. In third place was British biker Sam Sunderlandas the KTM crew locked out the Top 3 on day one.

“It was a really tricky, slippery stage today but I’ve come out with the win so I’m happy with that and get first pick for tomorrow’s starting order.” Toby Price

In the car contest there were early celebrations for two-time Dakar winner Nasser Al-Attiyah in his Toyota Hilux. The Qatari and his French co-driver Mathieu Baumel completed the 10km prologue in a speedy 8 minutes 27 seconds. Like Price, Al-Attiyah was also 10 seconds clear of his nearest rival – Martin Prokop of the Czech Republic.

The day’s third fastest car belonged to Polish racer Kuba Przygonski and his Belgian co-driver Tom Colsoul. Reaching the finish line in Morocco will be enough for this MINI Rally duo to be crowned 2018 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup champions

“I think that the Morocco Rally will be the decisive event for who wins the World Cup! We lead the overall standings and have to defend them here. Our MINI is very well prepared.” – Kuba Przygonski

The Rallye du Maroc prologue gave us our first look at the X-raid MINI JCW Team in action. There was very little between the two crews of Frenchmen Cyril Despres/Jean-Paul Cottretand Spaniards Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz. The MINI John Cooper Works Buggy of Despres just edged it by two seconds as he and Sainz finished the day with the sixth and seventh quickest times respectively.

Friday sees the distance at Rallye du Maroc upped considerable as the convoy will face around 500 kilometres of timed special stage. The competitors will leave Fes in the morning and head to Erfoud in the Sahara Desert.

Fresh images, clips and stories on the X-raid MINI JCW Team: www.redbullcontentpool.com/XraidMINI

There’s more from our Red Bull Desert Wings on the Red Bull Content Pool here.

Toby Price

Toby Price © Kin Marcin/Red Bull Content Pool

Matthias Walkner

Matthias Walkner © Kin Marcin/Red Bull Content Pool

Sam Sunderland

Sam Sunderland © Kin Marcin/Red Bull Content Pool

Nasser Al-Attiyah

Nasser Al-Attiyah © Kin Marcin/Red Bull Content Pool

Nasser Al-Attiyah

Nasser Al-Attiyah © Kin Marcin/Red Bull Content Pool

Kuba Przygonski

Kuba Przygonski © Kin Marcin/Red Bull Content Pool

Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz © Kin Marcin/Red Bull Content Pool

Cyril Despres

Cyril Despres © Kin Marcin/Red Bull Content Pool

Cyril Despres

Cyril Despres © Kin Marcin/Red Bull Content Pool

Quotes

Toby Price: “It was a really tricky, slippery stage today but I’ve come out with the win so I’m happy with that and get first pick for tomorrow. It doesn’t make too much difference to the overall rally, but it’s nice to know my pace is good and the plan is to push on again tomorrow and hopefully get another good result.”

Matthias Walkner: “It was a good day today, I started third and already there were lots of small stones everywhere that made the stage extremely tricky. I am very happy with my performance though and didn’t make any silly mistakes. The goal was always to arrive in the top-three, so second fastest is great. Tomorrow’s stage doesn’t look too bad navigation-wise but you never know. It’s been a good start to the rally nut there are five long days ahead.”

Sam Sunderland: “That was a good stage, it was only short but gave me my first taste of proper racing since I broke my foot a couple of months ago. It’s nice to get back in a good rhythm and third fastest is not so bad. The bike was feeling great and I am really enjoying riding right now. I’ve got a good start position for tomorrow and I’m looking forward to the week ahead.”

Kuba Przygonski: “I think that the Morocco Rally will be the decisive event for who wins the World Cup! We lead the overall standings and have to defend them here. Our MINI is very well prepared.”

 

 

The post Desert racing royalty makes lightening start at 2018 Rallye du Maroc appeared first on race-deZert.com.

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