World Rally-Raid Championship

2023 Rallye du Maroc: Romain Dumontier completes all-podium run with Rally2 title

6 Mins read
Credit: Julien Delfosse/DPPI

Bradley Cox finished the 2023 World Rally-Raid Championship on a tear as he won the Rally2 class at the final two races of the season, but his campaign was ultimately a story of “what could have been”. He hurt his elbow on the first day of the Dakar Rally, which sidelined him for the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge before mechanical issues plagued him at the Sonora Rally, and he ended the calendar fourth in points.

Still, closing out the year by winning the first stage of the Rallye du Maroc and never letting go of the overall lead was a pretty nice consolation prize ahead of next year’s Dakar. Cox won the Prologue and Stage #1, eventually building up such a strong advantage that he could ride more conservatively on the final day and finish fifth but still take the outright win with ease.

Romain Dumontier was the only Rally2 rider to score podiums in every race he entered, winning at Dakar and Sonora followed by a third at the Desafío Ruta 40 and second in the Rallye du Maroc. While he dominated the class in his two victories, the pair of non-wins were still displays of consistency as he never finished a stage lower than fourth. Even when he missed the podium in Stage #4, it was only by a minute and a half to Paolo Lucci.

“A season full of pitfalls but we managed to get through to the end,” Dumontier described the year. He finished runner-up in the 2022 Rally2 standings.

Lucci entered Morocco trailing Dumontier by thirteen points but was unable to overtake him in the championship or rally overall. He was the lone Rally2 rider to enter all five rounds but crashed out in Argentina.

“Would have preferred to go up one more step but things didn’t always go the way I hoped,” commented Lucci, “but in the end I’m happy and grateful for all the experiences brought home and for getting the chance to try until the end.”

After winning three stages at the Desafío Ruta 40, Michael Docherty continued his momentum by claiming two more in Morocco. However, his rally ended on the final day when he overshot a dune and hit his head on his bike’s handlebars, followed by a mechanical issue that formally prevented him from continuing.

Rally2 was the largest class in Morocco by a wide margin with a staggering ninety-seven entries. Many of the near-century were preparing for the 2024 Dakar Rally, while others were hoping to use the event to earn free registration for Dakar via the Road to Dakar. Toby Hederics won the latter as he finished an impressive sixth in his W2RC début.

Jane Daniels entered her first W2RC race just days after securing her fourth FIM Women’s EnduroGP World Championship. While still new to rally raid with only a few months of experience, she finished thirtieth in class and right behind fellow female rider Yael Kadshai. Kadshai was also the highest finishing woman at the unrelated Morocco Desert Challenge in April. Steff Rowe, another entry in the Rallye du Maroc’s Women’s Trophy, retired after hurting her left arm by crashing into a rock shortly after Stage #4 began.

With such a massive field, it was not surprising that there were plenty who did not make it to the end. Twenty failed to finish, ranging from the aforementioned riders gearing up for Dakar to W2RC regulars, with some getting into horrendous accidents.

Kove Moto brought a quartet of bikes to Morocco, though the Chinese manufacturer’s national riders Fang Xiangling and Sunier were the only ones to reach the finish. Xavier Flick, the team’s new factory rider, withdrew after Stage #1 to return to France following his father’s death. Neels Theric retired after an unusual but violent accident in Stage #4 when Julien Jagu and his fellow riders got lost on a plateau without a CAP reading (basically a compass direction); Jagu turned around to rejoin the course amid a cloud of dust, only for Theric to slam into his bike at nearly 100 kilometres an hour. Lucci, who was among the lost competitors, activated the distress signal for them and they were airlifted to hospital. Despite the impact, Theric only suffered a broken hand while Jagu broke his elbow.

While Dumontier had the perfect bookends to 2023, Konrad Dąbrowski suffered the opposite as he missed Dakar due to appendicitis before a Stage #2 crash in Morocco led to a concussion and broken shoulder. The stage also saw Matthieu Jauffraud rupture his Achilles and fracture his tibia, while Modestas Siliunas‘ bike ignited into flames that Quad champion Laisvydas Kancius tried to extinguish using his vehicle to no avail.

Tobias Ebster, who stunned the Rally2 world by winning the class in Abu Dhabi, sustained a shoulder dislocation and labrum tear two kilometres into the opening stage. Gioele Meoni, son of the late Dakar Rally legend Fabrizio Meoni, broke his shoulder after losing control of his bike along a small mountain in Stage #4. Romain Bouzigon nearly made it to the rally finish only to hit a rock just fifty kilometres short of going the full distance, breaking his collarbone.

Rally2 overall results

FinishNumberRiderTeamTimeMargin
132Bradley CoxBAS World KTM Racing Team17:06:37Leader
230Romain DumontierHT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing17:20:05+ 13:28
331Paolo LucciBAS World KTM Racing Team17:27:46+ 21:09
476Jean-Loup LepanDUUST Diverse Racing17:31:14+ 24:37
544Tommaso Montanari*Fantic Rally Team19:10:41+ 2:04:04
671Toby Hederics*BAS World KTM Racing Team19:11:16+ 2:04:39
7106Jaromír Romančík*Orion – Moto Racing Group19:18:51+ 2:12:14
841Jeremy Miroir*Fantic Rally Team19:21:25+ 2:14:48
9109Diego Llanos*Xraids Experience19:26:48+ 2:20:11
1043Jan Brabec*Strojrent Racing19:38:30+ 2:31:53
1139Benjamin Melot*Team Esprit KTM19:57:07+ 2:50:30
12110Salvador Guiomar Vargas*Xraids Experience20:20:27+ 3:13:50
1370Jérôme Bas*Team Giroud Universal Ride20:23:47+ 3:17:10
1454Josep Pedró Subirats*Xraids Experience20:48:19+ 3:41:42
1594Alexandre Vaudan*Team Casteu21:01:13+ 3:54:36
1649Fang Xiangliang*Kove Moto21:22:16+ 4:15:39
1772Tomás de Gavardo*BAS World KTM Racing Team21:28:12+ 4:21:35
1853Thomas Kongshøj*Joyride Race Service21:34:03+ 4:27:26
1945Sunier*Kove Moto21:37:32+ 4:30:55
20107Dušan Drdaj*Orion – Moto Racing Group21:53:56+ 4:47:19
2183Marshall Méplon*Marshall Méplon22:04:45+ 4:58:08
2246Cesar Rojo*BAS World KTM Racing Team22:06:54+ 5:00:17
23128Clément Artaud*Team Dumontier Racing22:16:51+ 5:10:14
2488Jérémie Gerber*Nomade Racing22:19:14+ 5:12:37
2548Jeremy Poncet*Xtrem Garage22:25:07+ 5:18:30
26108Julien Dalbec*Nomade Racing22:37:12+ 5:30:35
27136Guillaume BorneAfrica Rallye Team22:41:41+ 5:35:04
28105Martin Prokeš*Orion – Moto Racing Group22:43:40+ 5:37:03
29133Yael Kadshai* #Nomade Racing22:54:52+ 5:48:15
30131Jane Daniels* #Fantic Rally Team22:56:57+ 5:50:20
3167Bruno Leblanc*Bruno Leblanc23:01:53+ 5:55:16
3298Fabien Domas*Drag’on Rally Team23:37:06+ 6:30:29
3387Damien Bataller*Team DB Racing23:39:22+ 6:32:45
34100Stéphane Brunaud*Nomade Racing23:44:07+ 6:37:30
3590Adrien Costes*Nomade Racing23:56:24+ 6:49:47
36123Fabian Von Thuengen*HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing24:04:58+ 6:58:21
37122Weston Carr*HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing24:24:12+ 7:17:35
38125Ganzorig Chuluun*HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing24:37:36+ 7:30:59
39115Adrien Roland*RM Nature et Énergie24:38:37+ 7:32:00
40112Sébastien Herbet*Team Dumontier Racing24:52:23+ 7:45:46
4166Bertrand Domet*DOM Team24:53:20+ 7:46:43
4265Arnaud Domet*DOM Team24:55:16+ 7:48:39
4380Mykolas Paulavicius*Mykolas Paulavicius Dakar Team25:07:59+ 8:01:22
4485Jean-Philippe Révolte*Révolte Racing25:21:43+ 8:15:06
4582Christopher Jautard*Nomade Racing25:46:08+ 8:39:31
4674Mathieu Feuvrier*Nomade Racing25:55:00+ 8:48:23
4757Gad Nachmani*Club Aventura Touareg25:57:16+ 8:50:39
48104Benjamin Bourdariat*RS Concept Team26:03:49+ 8:57:12
4997Maxime Pouponnet*Team Maxime Pouponnet26:06:47+ 9:00:10
5063Javier Campos*Javier Campos26:13:46+ 9:07:09
5161Jim Moisa*Enduro Normandie Rally Team26:26:31+ 9:19:54
52118Benjamin Lepelley*Team Dumontier Racing26:55:20+ 9:48:43
5384Carl Searles*Searles2Dakar27:05:49+ 9:59:12
5481Jonathan Savel*Jonathan Savel28:04:58+ 10:58:21
55102Borja Pérez Casimiro*Borja Pérez Casimiro28:12:35+ 11:05:58
56120Ramon Vidal Bregante*Ramon Vidal Bregante28:18:36+ 11:11:59
5755Max Bianucci*Nomade Racing28:21:47+ 11:15:10
5899Craig Searles*Searles2Dakar28:48:47+ 11:42:10
5956Rémy Brochart*RM Nature et Énergie28:53:11+ 11:46:34
6040Jon Florea*Gerula Racing29:11:48+ 12:05:11
6195Rémy Moreau*Nomade Racing30:07:59+ 13:01:22
62124Axel Mustad*HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing30:18:48+ 13:12:11
6350Thomas Georgin*Enduro Normandie Rally Team31:12:08+ 14:05:31
6478Stéphane Bouvier*Team BS Adventure31:27:21+ 14:20:44
6551Mathieu Girard*Nomade Racing31:45:57+ 14:39:20
6658Dennis Mildenberger*Nomadas Adventure31:53:51+ 14:47:14
67114Alexandre Yon*Enduro Normandie Rally Team32:22:46+ 15:16:09
6837Mathieu Dovèze*BAS World KTM Racing Team36:40:04+ 19:33:27
6986Guillaume Martin*Nomade Racing37:01:16+ 19:54:39
70103Loïc Peyrichout*Team LPC40:54:28+ 23:47:51
7189Paul Costes*Nomade Racing41:14:12+ 24:07:35
72134Christian AboudAfrica Rallye Team48:14:54+ 31:08:17
7396Frédéric Baudry*Nomade Racing56:55:10+ 39:48:33
74116Slawomir Sypien*DUUST Diverse Racing71:15:10+ 54:08:33
7562Frédéric Grignion*RM Nature et Énergie80:02:34+ 62:55:57
7669Jorge Escobedo Gil*Pedrega Team81:55:58+ 64:49:21
77121John Spelier*HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing83:18:38+ 66:12:01
DNF33Michael DochertyBAS World KTM Racing TeamDNFN/A
DNF34Konrad DąbrowskiDUUST Diverse RacingDNFN/A
DNF36Dominique Cizeau GiraultXraids ExperienceDNFN/A
DNF38Neels Theric*Kove MotoDNFN/A
DNF59Darren Goodman*Nomadas AdventureDNFN/A
DNF64Modestas Siliunas*AG Dakar SchoolDNFN/A
DNF73Matthieu Jauffraud*Matthieu JauffraudDNFN/A
DNF91Samuel Fremy*Nomade RacingDNFN/A
DNF92Gediminas Satkus*AG Dakar SchoolDNFN/A
DNF93Julien Jagu*Julien JaguDNFN/A
DNF101Guillaume Rosier*Guillaume RosierDNFN/A
DNF113Perrick Demonceaux*Dems MachineDNFN/A
DNF117Jakub Krezymon*DUUST Diverse RacingDNFN/A
DNF119Steff Rowe* #Steff RoweDNFN/A
DNF126Gioele Meoni*Dakar4DakarDNFN/A
DNF127Ferran Zaragoza Rosa*Pedrega TeamDNFN/A
DNF129Xavier Flick*Kove MotoDNFN/A
DNF137Tobias Ebster*Kini Rally Racing TeamDNFN/A
DNF139Romain Bouzigon*Team Esprit KTMDNFN/A
* – Not competing in World Rally-Raid Championship
Bold – Junior Trophy competitor
Italics – Veteran Trophy competitor
# – Women’s Trophy competitor

Rally2 stage winners

StageRiderTime
PrologueBradley Cox58:20.5 (11:40.5)
Stage #1Bradley Cox3:33:37
Stage #2Michael Docherty3:08:59
Stage #3Romain Dumontier3:24:03
Stage #4Michael Docherty3:50:54
Stage #5Paolo Lucci2:00:01

Overall winners

ClassNumberCompetitorTeamTime
T1201Yazeed Al-RajhiToyota Gazoo Racing14:49:09
T2251Ronald Basso*Team Land Cruiser Toyota Auto Body22:14:17
T3315Marek GoczałEnergyLandia Rally Team16:22:12
T4403João FerreiraSouth Racing Can-Am18:26:24
T5506Michiel Becx*Team de Rooy21:32:34
RallyGP8Toby PriceRed Bull KTM Factory Racing15:56:43
Rally232Bradley CoxBAS World KTM Racing Team17:06:37
Rally3164Cheikh Yves JacquemainAfrica Rallye Team23:42:39
Quad186Alexandre Giroud*Drag’on Rally Team21:07:24
Open Auto601Jérôme Cambier*MD Rallye Sport21:21:46
Open SSV653Tomas Mickus*BRO Racing21:42:23
Road to Dakar Bike71Toby Hederics*BAS World KTM Racing Team19:11:16
Road to Dakar SSV420William Grarre*Team Horizon Off-Road21:50:39

W2RC Rally2 standings

RankRiderPointsMargin
1Romain Dumontier99Leader
2Paolo Lucci82– 17
3Jean-Loup Lepan71– 28
4Bradley Cox60– 39
5Jacob Argubright35– 64
6Michael Docherty33– 66
7Konrad Dąbrowski31– 68
8Toni Mulec30– 69
9Mathieu Dovèze28– 71
10Dominique Cizeau Girault23– 76
11Neels Theric13– 86
12Jan Brabec12– 87
T-13Jon Florea11– 88
T-13Jiří Brož11– 88
T-13Mirjam Pol11– 88
16Sunier9– 90
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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