World Rally-Raid Championship

2022 Rallye du Maroc: Yazeed Al-Rajhi evens score with Stage 1B lead

2 Mins read
Credit: Overdrive Racing

Nasser Al-Attiyah and Yazeed Al-Rajhi have set the tone for the Rallye du Maroc as they traded 1–2 finishes in the prologue stages. After Al-Attiyah topped the Agadir loop in Stage #1A, Al-Rajhi was the quickest T1 entry in the run to Tan Tan for Stage #1B.

Al-Rajhi set a total time of 3:29:04, three minutes faster than Al-Attiyah’s 3:32:17. Al-Attiyah had been strong by leading much of the stage before Al-Rajhi gained the upper hand in the run after the final checkpoint. As he had finished runner-up to Al-Attiyah by only eight seconds in the previous leg, Al-Rajhi now holds the overall lead by three minutes.

Guerlain Chicherit settled for fourth in T1 after leading at the first checkpoint, with Jakub Przygonski subsequently leapfrogging him for third.

Despite figuring to be one of the favourites, T1 championship leader Sébastien Loeb suffered a broken suspension arm that caused him to fall significantly behind. He was able to rebound after making necessary repairs, only to suffer another pair of punctures and finished ninth. His twenty-one-minute deficit (3:50:44) could have major implications on the standings as Al-Attiyah entered Morocco trailing by just one point.

While not in the T1 category, the Audi RS Q e-tron E2 of Carlos Sainz recorded a faster time than anyone else in the field at 3:28:13. His Audi team-mates Mattias Ekström and Stéphane Peterhansel, who are also in the Open division, had times that would be good for fifth (3:38:35) and seventh (3:39:50) overall, respectively.

The top three in T3 finished twelfth through fourteenth overall with Francisco López Contardo leading Helder Rodrigues and Stage #1A winner Seth Quintero. The trio were separated by slightly over a minute as Contardo’s 3:58:34 trumped Rodrigues’ 3:59:31 and Quintero’s 3:59:37.

Marek Goczał (T4) won his class for the second straight stage and scored a top ten overall; T4 prologue leader Rokas Baciuška was thirteen minutes back. João Ferreira also notched a second win in Open SSV.

In the T2 category, which only has two entries in Toyota Auto Body-fielded Land Cruisers, Akira Miura trailed Ron Basso for much of the leg before setting a time ten minutes quicker in the final run.

Gerrit Zuurmond topped the Truck category by just one minute, seven seconds over #1A winner Martin Macík Jr.

Ross Branch once again led the RallyGP class as his 3:44:45 led Luciano Benavides’ 3:46:05. Benavides closed the gap to Stage #1A runner-up Toby Price by going from trailing by thirty seconds to beating him to the finish by thirty-four.

Pablo Quintanilla‘s hopes of claiming back-to-back Bike wins took a major hit after he crashed in the closing moments. Despite being able to salvage a thirteenth-place finish, he reported left shoulder pain from the accident that could mar his performance for the rest of the race should he continue.

Mason Klein secured a convincing stage win in Rally2 with his 3:49:43 blowing Jan Brabec‘s time of 4:12:58, while Manuel Andujar (4:46:51, fifteenth overall in Rally2) cleared Alexandre Giroud (4:52:47, nineteenth). Amine Echiguer won by ten minutes over Guillaume Borne in Rally3.

Stage #2 on 3 October will go from Tan Tan to Laayoune.

Stage #1B winners

T1202Yazeed Al-RajhiOverdrive Racing3:29:04
T2230Akira MiuraToyota Auto Body5:18:32
T3300Francisco López ContardoSouth Racing Can-Am3:58:34
T4401Marek GoczałCobant-Energylandia Rally Team3:55:39
T5501Gerrit ZuurmondRainbow Truck Team5:04:05
RallyGP16Ross BranchHero MotoSports Team Rally3:44:56
Rally221Mason KleinBAS World KTM Racing Team3:49:43
Rally3125Amine EchiguerAmine Echiguer3:33:01
Quad150Manuel AndujarDrag’on Rally Team4:46:51
Open Car601Carlos SainzTeam Audi Sport3:28:13
Open SSV701João FerreiraX-Raid Yamaha Racing Rally Team2:51:53

Leaders after Stage #1B

T1202Yazeed Al-RajhiOverdrive Racing3:36:41
T2230Akira MiuraToyota Auto Body5:29:42
T3300Francisco López ContardoSouth Racing Can-Am4:07:01
T4401Marek GoczałCobant-Energylandia Rally Team4:02:12
T5501Martin Macík Jr.MM Technology5:14:22
RallyGP16Ross BranchHero MotoSpots Team Rally4:46:24
Rally221Mason KleinBAS World KTM Racing Team4:53:59
Rally3125Amine EchiguerAmine Echiguer4:467:17
Quad151Manuel AndujarDrag’on Rally Team5:56:59
Open Car601Carlos SainzTeam Audi Sport3:28:13
Open SSV701João FerreiraX-Raid Yamaha Racing Rally Team3:00:28
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