Stage 3 of the 9th edition of
the Afriquia Merzouga Rally, touted to be the highlight stage of the Rally, saw
the racers battle dunes of Rissani erg, Chebbi erg along with sand in the Fezou
region and Ouzina erg before finishing at the campsite. At the end of the stage, Sherco TVS Factory
Rally team’s Joan Pedrero stood in the overall rankings at P8 followed by
Lorenzo Santolino at P9. Duplessis Diego
Martin maintained his good run with a P11 finish while Vanni Cominotto finished
the stage at P24 in the overall rankings.
As for the Hero MotoSports
Team Rally, stage 3 saw both their riders do well to finish the stage in a
strong position. Oriol Mena, shrugging
off a minor setback of stage 2, made good time to climb up several places to
finish the stage 3 in 14th position. CS Santosh also kept a steady momentum
amidst zones of very soft dunes and tricky navigation to finish the stage 3 in
27th position. Overall, Oriol stand at 16th place and C S Santosh at 20th place
at the end of 3 stages.
Competitors will have to go through the night
without the aid of their assistance crew and get ready for the part two of the
Marathon stage on Thursday April19.
The Marathon stage of Stage3 was made of a
long liaison of 63 kms followed by the 240 km stage where the riders had to
negotiate the dunes of the Rissani erg, those of the Chebbi erg, sand in the
Fezou region, and the Ouzina erg before arriving at the campsite in the middle
of the dunes for an evening in the heart of the desert.
Stage 4 will see the riders negotiate another
233 km of special stage sandwiched between 36 km and 103 km of liaison
sections, finally reuniting with their assistance crew at the Tombouctou hotel
with only the last stage remaining to decide the rally champion.
Meanwhile, Spaniard Joan Barreda claimed his second stage
win and padded his lead in the general classification. Gary Aldington (Yamaha)
and Ruben Faria (Can-Am) won in the quad and S×S categories.
Pos No. Rider Name Team
1 10 BARREDA
BORT JOAN HONDA
2 7 QUINTANILLA
3 2 BENAVIDES
8 4 PEDRERO GARCIA JUAN SHERCO TVS
11 36 SANTOLINO LORENZO SHERCO TVS
13 18 DUPLESSIS DIEGO MARTIN SHERCO TVS
14 17 MENA ORIOL HERO
21 31 COMINOTTO VANNI SHERCO TVS
26 29 CS SANTOSH HERO
Overall positions after stage3
2 2 BENAVIDES
3 7 QUINTANILLA
8 4 PEDRERO GARCIA JUAN SHERCO TVS
9 36 SANTOLINO LORENZO SHERCO TVS
11 18 DUPLESSIS DIEGO MARTIN SHERCO TVS
16 17 MENA ORIOL HERO
20 29 CS SANTOSH HERO
24 31 COMINOTTO VANNI SHERCO TVS
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