A diverse third stage of the Morocco Desert Challenge turned out to be no easy one for the cars. Initially, the Toyota Hilux of Paolo Ferreira and Jorge Monteiro from Portugal seemed to have won the 335 km race - but they received a time penalty of 10 minutes, so the victory again went to Stéphane Henrard / Gatien du Bois from Belgium (Dunbee Volkswagen Buggy, 04:27:41 hours), who is in the lead in the joint classification of buggies and 4x4s.
"I love the dunes," said daily-second Paolo Ferreira after the stage. "I said yesterday that I wanted to win this day. We drove quietly, did not do crazy things. It was a flawless day, and I certainly want to compliment my navigator Jorge Monteiro, because it was really difficult."
Third was the Predator Buggy of the French Xavier Lormand / Guillaume Jorda (+7:57) in front of the Mercedes Buggy of the French Patrick and Lucas Martin (+15:01) and the Toyota Hilux of the French Jean-Pascal Besson / Jean-Michel Polato (+22:21).
In ninth place, Maik Willems / Robert van Pelt (Toyota Hilux, +49:51) were the best Dutch participant, together wit Jan Mooij / Stephan van Laar (Nissan, also +49:51). "This stage was one of Kaket squared (race leader Jean-Claude Kaket is responsible for the road books) in terms of navigation," said Willems. "Very precise, very difficult. My navigator has had his hands full and we often needed a lot of searching and driving around in circles before we found the right track. Erg Chegaga was fun! I would not call it real dunes, but it was nice, soft sand. A nice gift."
The Belgians Erwin and Olivier Imschoot (Toyota, 34th) managed to land on the roof - twice in the dunes in just half an hour. "Unbelievable, right? At the top of the dune, I let go of the gas and then the engine stopped running," reported Erwin Imschoot. "That has the same effect as very hard braking and you can no longer steer. Such a dune is three or four meters high, so there is no time to start the car again. We landed on the nose and boom, on the roof. We were put up by my former teammate Jean Pascal Besson."
"And at the next dune exactly the same happened: On the top I let go of the gas, the engine turns off and hop, there we went again. Back on the roof. Four motorcyclists have helped us push the car back on the wheels. We managed to fix everything that went loose as good and as bad as it went, we have kicked out the windshield, because it was completely cracked, and so we went to the bivouac. It was not at high speed or in a dangerous move. I always drive very carefully in the dunes, but I have never experienced that the car turns off at such a point. I hope the mechanics can manage to get the Toyota Hilux back in order."
Stage Results SS03 Tuesday CARS Top 10
01) Henrard, Stéphane / Du Bois, Gatien I Volkswagen Dunbee Buggy I 04:27:41 I 00:00:00
02) Ferreira, Paulo / Monteiro, Jorge I Toyota I 04:35:19 I 00:07:38
03) Lormand, Xavier / Jorda, Guillaume I Predator Buggy I 04:35:38 I 00:07:57
04) Martin, Patrick / Martin, Lucas I Mercedes Buggy I 04:42:42 I 00:15:01
05) Besson, Jean-Pascal / Polato, Jean-Michel I Toyota I 04:50:02 I 00:22:21
06) Vaculik, Boris / Plechaty, Martin I Ford I 04:53:02 I 00:25:21
07) Munk, Jes / Marton, Rafal I Toyota I 05:03:25 I 00:35:44
08) Loomans, Jackie / Driesmans, Frits I Toyota I 05:15:59 I 00:48:18
09) Willems, Maik / Van Pelt, Robert I Toyota I 05:17:32 I 00:49:51
10) Mooij, Jan / Van Laar, Stephan I Nissan I 05:17:32 I 00:49:51
Overall Rankings CARS Top 10 after SS03
01) Henrard, Stéphane / Du Bois, Gatien I Volkswagen Dunbee Buggy I 11:52:11 I 00:00:00
02) Ferreira, Paulo / Monteiro, Jorge I Toyota I 12:00:03 I 00:07:52
03) Munk, Jes / Marton, Rafal I Toyota I 12:26:21 I 00:34:10
04) Loomans, Jackie / Driesmans, Frits I Toyota I 12:40:39 I 00:48:28
05) Martin, Patrick / Martin, Lucas I Mercedes Buggy I 12:41:00 I 00:48:49
06) Vaculik, Boris / Plechaty, Martin I Ford I 12:55:02 I 01:02:51
07) Willems, Maik / Van Pelt, Robert I Toyota I 13:46:36 I 01:54:25
08) Lormand, Xavier / Jorda, Guillaume I Predator Buggy I 13:48:46 I 01:56:35
09) Thijs, Vincent / De Leeuw, Tom I Toyota I 14:07:26 I 02:15:15
10) Mooij, Jan / Van Laar, Stephan I Nissan I 14:16:45 I 02:24:34
Photos: Morocco Desert Challenge, Teams
MOROCCO DESERT CHALLENGE ALL RESULTS ONLINE
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