Stage 5 – Liaison 43 km – SS5 75 km – Liaison 44 km Total 162 km
Fifth and final day of the MR 2015, the competitors took this morning a spectacular start “Motocross style” of the GP of the Dunes: two rings of a 37,5 km ring in the famous Erg Chebbi. Adrien van Beveren (Yamaha) claimed his first stage win for the Pro category. The French did an excellent performance throughout the five stages.
Vincent Dooley was the first of the Expert, while Diego Ortega Gil was the fastest quad. The crew Culus – Bonneadeau claimed today’s SS win in the SSV category.
Regarding the overall classification, the winner of the Merzouga Rally 2015 is Alessandro Botturi. The Yamaha Racing rider took the start of the Grand Prix of the Dunes as the leader of the general standing. After an electrical issue he had in the liaison, the target of the Italian was just one: finishing the race and managing the 2.2 minutes advantage he had on Gerard Farres and 2’5 on Stefan Svitko.
Alessandro Botturi did everything well and claimed the victory of the MR 2015 in front of Gerard Farres, second 0.57 seconds behind Botturi and Stefan Svitko, third at +1’.53. Olivier Pain (KTM) and Laia Sanz (KTM) were respectively 4th and 5th.
The American Nathan Rafferty, who was leading the overall of the Expert category, confirmed his position. Second Christopher Braun, third Bruno Martins, 4° Vincent Dooley, 5° Brian McGirr.
In the SSV category the win goes to the French crew Henrichy – Bersey (AT4R) that repeated the 2014 success. Second Abel – Manez (Los Amigos) and third the Spanish of Enjoy Quads Ibarz – Torne.
Sport and Charity: The team Los Amigos is committed in humanitarian projects to support some ong organizations in the region of the MR. This year the donation went to the Wings for Life project.
Alessandro Botturi (Yamaha Racing):
“I’m really satisfied for this victory. This morning I had an issue in the liaison with an electrical cable and I had to fix it. I started a bit nervous but in the race everything went well. I had 2 minutes of advantage on Farres and 2.5 on Svitko so I did the first lap with them in order to manage the gap. I pushed too much on a dune and the engine switched off"." I lost some time but in the end I could make it. I’m really happy as we arrive from a good momentum. We raced the MR to test the new bike and I have a very good feeling, the engine is very good and also the chassis. It is a great satisfaction for the Yamaha Racing Team to win the Merzouga Rally. Regarding the Dakar I know that I don’t have the rhythm of Matthias Walkner or Juan Barreda but I’m just behind them so I’m confident and ready to face the big challenge”.
Gerard Farres (KTM)
“I will go to the Dakar this year with a new team, the Himoinsa Racing and it was great to race here as a final rehearsal”.
Stefan Svitko (KTM):
“I really liked the navigation here. It’s much harder than the Dakar. I was a bit disappointed to get 6’ penalty, which cost me the first place of the podium. In general it was a very good training for the Dakar”.
Laia Sanz (KTM):
“I really enjoyed the rally, in particular the last 2 stages. The SS4 was the best one for the navigation, that kept you focused for more than 200 km. I didn’t push in the first part of the rally as I was a bit tired from the Enduro race in France and the previous rally. It took me a while to change mentality from big tracks to navigated section and horse piste. It was a great training for the Dakar”.
“The race is technical and the region is beautiful. I came year to enjoy the desert and the new discipline, without the pressure of the result and I really enjoyed the Merzouga Rally”.
“This is my second Merzouga Rally and it’s a great satisfaction to win this race. Racing in this part of Africa is simply fantastic. A rally raid is also an extraordinary occasion to visit another country and to combine the passion, bikes and racing”.
Diego Ortega Gil (Yamaha):
“I return every year to experience the Grand Prix of the Dunes. Starting all together with the sound of the TV helicopter on our head is unforgettable”.
“we really enjoyed the Merzouga Rally. It’s a technical race on a varied terrain. We took the start as the leader of the overall classification and we were able to manage the advantage on Los Amigos and Enjoy Quads. Our target was to repeat the success of last year and I can say “mission accomplished!”