In the Rallye du Maroc, the MINI ALL4 Racing once again raced in a class of its own. Five of the nine desert racers that contested the event made it to the top 10. At the end of the six-stage rally, Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and his French co-driver, Mathieu Baumel, crossed the finish line as the winners. Right behind them, in second position, followed Monster Energy ace Orlando Terranova (ARG) and his Argentinean navigator Bernardo ‘Ronnie’ Graue. The all MINI ALL4 Racing podium was completed by Dutch pairing Erik van Loon / Wouter Rosegaar. Fourth place also was secured by a MINI ALL4 Racing – the one of Russia’s Vladimir Vasilyev and his compatriot Konstantin Zhiltsov who defended their lead in the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, with this result. Nonetheless, the battle for the title remains thrilling, as Vasiliev’s lead over Al-Attiyah amounts to just 20 points, now. This means that one will have to wait until the Baja Portalegre, the final FIA WC round held in early November, is contested to find out who will win the 2014 title.
From the very beginning, there were two drivers fighting for the win: Terranova and Al-Attiyah. The two drivers representing the colours of the Trebur based squad won five of the six stages and prior to the final stage, the gap between them amounted to just 1:15 minutes – with the driver from Qatar having the upper hand. And Al-Attiyah kept his cool, won the final stage – and the rally, too.
Van Loon delivered in very consistent style, made no mistakes – and at the end of day six he was rewarded with the fine third place. Vasilyev also opted for contesting the penultimate FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup round in conservative style. His motto: score points and defend your lead. By finishing fourth, he stabilised his lead he now has to defend in early November in Portugal. The sixth place of Chile’s Boris Garafulic and his Portuguese navigator Filipe Palmeiro completed the very good team result. Aidyn Rakhimbayev (KAZ) and Anton Nikolaev (RUS) finished 15th, with the fifth place on day four representing their personal highlight.
For Spain’s Nani Roma and his French co-driver Michel Périn, however, the Rally du Maroc turned out to be an event to forget. On day one they encountered three punctures and as they had only two spare wheels aboard their car, they had to wait for a team-mate who could help them. Two days later, Roma had to retire from the special stage due to gearbox problems. He was allowed to continue the rally but received a 100-hour time penalty for his special-stage retirement. Poland’s Martin Kaczmarski had to retire on day four due to shoulder problems. Peter van Merkstejin Jr rolled his MINI ALL4 Racing – several times – on day two but the team succeeded in repairing the car. Two days later, the Dutchman rejoined the race action.
“I’m very happy with the result,”
said Team Manager Sven Quandt.
“The MINI ALL4 Racing secured all the podium positions and five of our cars made it to the top 10. It couldn’t have come much better, for us. Nonetheless, it’s a pity that Nani had this technical problem. Otherwise, we certainly would have witnessed six MINI racers securing top-10 results. Now there are another two major tasks waiting for us: the FIA World Cup final and the Dakar preparation.I’m really delighted with having won the rally,”
beamed Nasser Al-Attiyah.
“Racing theMINI was big fun – it’s just a great car. Nonetheless, the past days weren’t easy as the battle with Orlando was really tough.It goes without saying that I would have loved to win the World Cup title here in Morocco,”
admitted Vladimir Vasilyev.
“But I’m travelling to Portugal with a 20-point lead and my chances still look bright. The rally was rough and everybody had to fight hard. A very good preparation for the Dakar in January.”
Overall result OiLibya Rallye du Maroc 2014:
1. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT)/M. Baumel (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 16h12’15
2. O. Terranova (ARG)/B. Graue (ARG) MINI ALL4 Racing – 16h13’57
3. E. van Loon (NED)/ W. Rosegaar (NED) MINI ALL4 Racing – 16h54’02
4. V. Vasilyev (RUS)/K. Zhiltsov (RUS) MINI ALL4 Racing – 17h00’08
6. B. Garafulic (CHI)/F. Palmeiro (POR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 17h59’49
15. A. Rakhimbayev (KAZ)/A. Nikolaev (RUS) MINI ALL4 Racing – 19h48’07
28. N. Roma (ESP)/ M.Périn (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 113h50’13
32. P. van Merksteijn jr. (BEL)/E. Chevaillier (BEL) MINI ALL4 Racing – 188h27’08