World Rally-Raid Championship

2022 Rallye du Maroc: Winners include Chicherit in Hunter debut, Quintero as youngest in race history

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Credit: Germain Hazard/DPPI

The fifth and final stage of the Rallye du Maroc on Thursday brought the field back from Tan Tan to Agadir, and with it Nasser Al-Attiyah walked away with the World Rally-Raid Championship T1 points lead as one race remains at the Andalucía Rally on 18–23 October.

Al-Attiyah entered Morocco trailing Sébastien Loeb by one point, but the latter’s retirement in Stage #4 gave Al-Attiyah the edge even with Loeb winning the class on Thursday. Al-Attiyah, a two-time stage victor, finished the stage in fifth to conclude with a third-place overall finish (total time of 15:16:53) behind Guerlain Chicherit (14:47:29) and Orlando Terranova (14:58:24). Loeb was classified fifty-first overall despite two stage wins.

“This was an amazing rally on tracks that were completely new for us,” said Al-Attiyah. “We’re happy to finish on the podium, it puts us one step closer to winning this very important title.”

Loeb described “the result at the end is not exactly what I expected for the championship. What we did here in Morocco will help us to understand some things on the car that we can solve before the next Dakar.”

While Chicherit failed to win a stage, his consistency enabled him to take the overall beginning with Stage #3 and lead the rest of the way. The victory marks a strong beginning to his tenure with the Prodrive Hunter, which he will pilot over the next two years including the 2023 Dakar Rally.

“We had two private test days in the car before the Rallye du Maroc,” said Chicherit. “I had a feeling we would do well, but I didn’t bank on winning. It’s incredible!

“The enthusiasm surrounding this result backs up the premise that motor racing is still the best showcase for new technology. We won today with biofuel made from agricultural waste. In the near future, we aim to win thanks to the electric-hydrogen technology we are developing.”

Mario Franco won the leg in T3 but the Yamaha driver is not competing for W2RC points, making Guillaume de Mevius the highest points-eligible driver in the class after finishing a minute and forty-one seconds behind Franco. Although Francisco López Contardo placed higher than overall leader Seth Quintero (third at 1:45:01 versus sixth at 1:46:28), Quintero still had nearly a ten-minute advantage to seal the victory. At twenty years of age, he is the youngest overall winner in Rallye du Maroc history.

“The last stage was beautiful today, I was just kind of bummed out that I couldn’t drive as fast as I wanted to because I was so nervous,” said Quintero. Red Bull team-mate Cristina Gutiérrez finished third, keeping the points battle close between the trio entering her season-ending home race in Spain.

Credit: Kin Marcin/Red Bull Content Pool

Although López comes up short, his South Racing Can-Am colleague Rokas Baciuška won the T4 overall. He battled with team-mate Jeremías González Ferioli, Pau Navarro, and Marek Goczał throughout the rally before assuming the general lead in Stage #3.

The Toyota Auto Body Land Cruiser duel in T2 ended in Akira Miura‘s favour as his 20:55:39 edged out Ronald Basso‘s 20:56:00. The two split stage victories with three apiece.

Martin Macík Jr. led the T5 overall at the end of all six legs and won thrice.

The Open Car category was swept by the RS Q e-tron E2s of Team Audi Sport, with Stéphane Peterhansel finally scoring his first stage win at the end. Nevertheless, Carlos Sainz dominated the rally with three wins and the overall as he cleared Mattias Ekström by thirteen minutes and eleven seconds and Peterhansel by 31:13.

Despite being the last finisher in his class, Paolo Rui Ferreira topped the Open SSV overall aided by a Stage #3 win. Although João Ferreira notched three victories, he did not run the final leg after being marred by an engine water pump issue in Stage #4 and departing to compete in the Baja TT Norte de Portugal.

In the Bikes, Skyler Howes won the overall ahead of Husqvarna ally Luciano Benavides by seven minutes, thirteen seconds. While American counterpart Ricky Brabec entered the final day with the RallyGP lead, he quickly fell off the pace “then everything crumbled from there.” It is Howes’ first international rally raid win.

The United States also enjoyed a Rally2 victory with Mason Klein winning by over forty minutes on Bradley Cox. Klein had dominated the class following victory in Stage #1B. Amine Echiguer won four times en route to the Rally3 triumph, while Manuel Andujar battled with Alexandre Giroud in Quad and won out.

Stage #5 had been shortened from 290 km (plus 81 km of transit) to 261 km due to poor visibility.

Stage #5 winners

T1200Sébastien LoebBahrain Raid Xtreme1:31:46
T2231Ronald BassoToyota Auto Body1:57:37
T3325Mario FrancoFranco Sport1:41;21
T4423Nicolas CavigliassoDrag’on Rally Team1:44:58
T5501Martin Macík Jr.MM Technology1:39:34
RallyGP5Skyler HowesHusqvarna Factory Racing1:37:36
Rally226Bradley CoxBAS World KTM Racing Team1:44:36
Rally3125Amine EchiguerAmine Echiguer1:59:31
Quad151Alexandre GiroudTeam Giroud2:01:42
Open Car600Stéphane PeterhanselTeam Audi Sport1:33:55
Open SSV704Josep Rojas AlmuzaraBuggy Masters Team1:33:58

Overall winners

T1208Guerlain ChicheritGCK Motorsport14:47:29
T2230Akira MiuraToyota Auto Body20:55:39
T3302Seth QuinteroRed Bull Off-Road Junior Team16:44:38
T4402Rokas BaciuškaSouth Racing Can-Am17:09:49
T5501Martin Macík Jr.MM Technology18:55:43
RallyGP5Skyler HowesHusqvarna Factory Racing16:30:29
Rally221Mason KleinBAS World KTM Racing Team17:18:07
Rally3125Amine EchiguerAmine Echiguer20:31:34
Quad150Manuel AndujarDrag’on Rally Team21:01:28
Open Car601Carlos SainzTeam Audi Sport14:45:43
Open SSV700Paolo Rui FerreiraX-Raid Yamaha Racing Rally Team17:29:59
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