The OiLybia Rally of Morocco drew to a close today in Marrakech with Joan Barreda taking the honours in the sixth and final stage. The Spaniard managed a fourth overall in spite of his final position being marred by a weighty penalty handed down earlier in the week. Fellow Team HRC rider Helder Rodrigues occupied the third step of the final podium, while Laia Sanz finished top female with tenth place on the final table.
Helder Rodrigues, as yesterday’s winner, landed the tricky job of leading out in today’s 113 km special. On the menu was fast, mainly flat track - at times wide, at others potholed - with a fair serving of dust. The Portuguese rider battled successfully to fend off his adversaries in the chase for the final podium place.
The stage winner was Joan Barreda who was fastest in five of the six stages in Morocco, setting a blistering pace which the others were unable to maintain. Nevertheless, Barreda had been hit with several penalties for excess speed that stopped him finishing higher on the overall final leader-board, narrowly missing a podium place by one minute. He closes the World Championship in 4th place.
Laia Sanz once again shone. Spain’s champion clinched not only victory in the female category, but posted a notable tenth place in the stage.
Jeremías Israel was unable to start today, after having suffered a mechanical setback shortly after setting off from Zagora yesterday, which saw the rider obliged to return directly to the bivouac.
Paulo Goncalves was forced to abandon the race yesterday after a crash left him nursing a broken rib. The Portuguese rider headed back home to begin his convalescence ahead of the next big challenge: Dakar 2015. He finish the season as runner-up in the 2014 FIM World Championship Cross-Country Rallies.
Press: Team HRC