PICTURES COURTESY SPEEDBRAIN
As temperatures in the desert
climbed to 40 degrees celsius and more on Wednesday May 25, 2016, a desert
storm made things complicated for the competitors of the Afriquia Merzouga
Rally in Morocco. Originally the focus of Stage 3 was on the first part of the
two-day marathon stage, meaning the pilots had to maintain their machines in
the bivouac without the help of outside mechanical assistance. The stage was scheduled
to offer 220 kilometres of timed special test, mostly on sandy off-piste
terrain. But all such plans were tossed out of the window as the weather
changed to the worse.
The Hero MotoSports Team Rally
overcame the tough situation with Joaquim Rodrigues making headway and CS Santosh
finishing the stage. With the conditions becoming too critical to guarantee a
fair and safe competition, the race was finally interrupted at the second
checkpoint. It is uncertain what this means for the riders who had already
reached the end of the special test before the proceedings were halted. It
looks as though Joaquim Rodrigues, who was one of only a dozen riders making it
to the bivouac at 4 pm local time, had lost some ground on the leaders because
of a minor crash. But a brave and courageous ride moved him into the top ten of
the overall classification.
Regardless of how the currently provisional
results will be confirmed, it´s clear that the decisive phase of the race has
begun. The riders stay overnight in the bivouac in the Atlas mountains.
Tomorrow the stage will be leading back south towards the town of Erfoud. 204
km of special test are on the agenda. Riders are scheduled enter the first road
section at 6 am.
According to the provisional
results, the two Hero MotorSports Team Rally riders on their Speedbrain bikes
have managed to come in the top 15 standings.
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