World Rally-Raid Championship

2022 Rallye du Maroc begins with Agadir qualifying loop

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Credit: Kin Marcin/Red Bull Content Pool

After a lengthy delay, the World Rally-Raid Championship hit the Moroccan desert Saturday with a prologue stage for the Rallye du Maroc, consisting of a nine-kilometre loop around Agadir. Dakar Rally winner Nasser Al-Attiyah found the early advantage by being the fastest of the Cars, while Ross Branch led the way for the Bikes.

Al-Attiyah hoped to draw first blood in his W2RC T1 class title pursuit, having entered Morocco trailing Sébastien Loeb by one point and seeking his second straight win in the event. The former set a time of 7:29 to lead all four-wheelers ahead of Yazeed Al-Rajhi‘s 7:37, while Loeb was third at 7:42. Guerlain Chicherit was fourth in his début with a Prodrive Hunter.

Seth Quintero cleared Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team colleague Guillaume de Mevius for the T3 lead by thirteen seconds at 8:10. Quintero’s time was good for ninth overall. Rokas Baciuška topped T4 at 8:23 for twelfth overall ahead of Rodrigo Luppi de Olivera by just six seconds.

On two wheels, Branch outclassed Toby Price for the overall and RallyGP lead with a time of 1:01.28, forty seconds quicker than the Australian.

“I rode average and all over the track, just tried to go too hard and didn’t work,” explained Price, who is having a busy few weeks as he comes off his Baja 400 run.

Defending event bike winner Pablo Quintanilla was sixth in RallyGP.

“The stage was quite demanding and technical,” said Quintanilla. “For me, the priority was to make it without losing too much time and making little mistakes. Tomorrow we are already racing in the desert and that is the time to attack.”

“I know I did some mistakes, but itms okay; release the pressure and I am ready for the first stage,” commented Adrian van Beveren, who finished fifth ahead of his Honda Rally Corporation team-mates in his maiden race for the outfit“The route was amazing, just the way I like. It was sunny and nice.”

Class leaders

T1201Nasser Al-AttiyahToyota Gazoo Racing7:29
T2231Ronald BassoToyota Auto Body10:43
T3302Seth QuinteroRed Bull Off-Road Junior Team8:10
T4402Rokas BaciuškaSouth Racing Can-Am8:23
T5501Martin Macík Jr.MM Technology9:20
RallyGP16Ross BranchHero MotoSports Team Rally1:01:28
Rally226Bradley CoxBAS World KTM Racing Team1:02:40
Rally3127Guillaume BorneHusqvarna Morocco Rally1:10:40
Quad151Alexandre GiroudTeam Giroud1:08:00
Open Car602Mattias EkströmTeam Audi Sport8:02
Open SSV701João FerreiraX-Raid Yamaha Racing Rally Team8:35
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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