Stage 2 of the 9th edition of the Afriquia Merzouga Rally
saw the racers cover a distance of 175 km in the region of Erg Chhabbi. At the end of the stage, India’s Sherco TVS
Factory Rally team’s Joan Pedrero stood at P8 followed by Duplessis Diego
Martin who climbed up to P9 with Lorenzo Santolino at P10. Vanni Cominotto finished the stage at P24.
It was a steady day for Hero MotoSports Team Rally with
Oriol Mena coming in 28th and C S Santosh a little ahead at 25th.
They both showed a great temperament on a hot and tricky day to deliver a solid
performance. Oriol started strong in the initial part of the stage and tackled
the dunes and the navigation very well. In the later part of the stage he lost
some time due to an electrical snag. C S Santosh, who was coming from behind,
stopped over to help his teammate with a quick intervention that ensured that
both the bikes reached the finish line safely. Santosh too had a good run in
the dunes as he got into a nice rhythm.
Stage 2 Results
1 2 BENAVIDES
2 7 QUINTANILLA
3 6 PRICE
8 4 PEDRERO GARCIA JUAN SHERCO TVS
9 18 DUPLESSIS DIEGO MARTIN SHERCO TVS
10 36 SANTOLINO LORENZO SHERCO TVS
24 31 COMINOTTO VANNI SHERCO TVS
25 29 CS SANTOSH HERO
28 17 MENA ORIOL HERO
BARREDA BORT JOAN HONDA
2 2 BENAVIDES
3 7 QUINTANILLA
8 4 PEDRERO GARCIA JUAN SHERCO TVS
9 36 SANTOLINO LORENZO SHERCO TVS
10 18 DUPLESSIS DIEGO MARTIN SHERCO TVS
19 17 MENA
21 29 CS
26 31 COMINOTTO VANNI SHERCO TVS
After Stage One’s 206.71 km opener, the competitors tackled
a 175.30 km stage with two lengthy loops crossing massive fields of dunes. The
combination of heat (with the mercury hitting 30 °C), navigational challenges
and soft sand demanded a laser-like focus from amateurs and pros alike. The
winner of the prologue on Sunday, Kevin Benavides (Honda), won stage 2 in the
motorbike category, as did Axel Dutrie (Yamaha) in the quad race and Casey
Curie (Can-Am) in the S×S competition.
Although the Afriquia Merzouga Rally aims to be a race for
amateurs to hone their skills in before signing up for the world's biggest
rally raids, the rally held in southern Morocco is far from being a walk in the
park, even for the pros. "The road books are really difficult, with up to
four notes in just one kilometre", stresses American biker Ricky Brabec
(Honda). "Making a mistake is easy, and this can cost you dearly in the
general classification", adds Axel Dutrie (Yamaha), the winner of the quad
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