The Morocco Desert Challenge started with the prologue stage this Sunday in Morocco - and we have the first big accident of the top-favourite in the cars and last year´s winner Tomas Ourednicek (Ford Ranger) from Czech Republic. The winners of the first stage in the cars are the Dutch Michiel Becx / Edwin Kuipers with their Mitjet Buggy in 47:59 minutes in front of Paulo Ferreira / Jorge Monteiro (Toyota Hilux, Portugal, + 7 sec), Jes Munk / Rafal Marton (Toyota Hilux, Danmark, +1:56 mins), Erwin and Olivier Imschoot (Toyota Hilux, Belgium, +2:52 mins) and Vincent Thijs / Tom De Leeuw (Toyota Hilux, Belgium, +3:40).
"We had a very good start in the competition with this prologue," said stagewinner Michiel Becx. "It was 77 kilometers of pleasure, we enjoyed every second of it. The navigation was perfect and it was beautiful, especially on the beach during the last 20 kilometers. We are very happy to be here and can’t wait to continue on Monday!"
For the Czech former winner Tomas Ourednicek the rally started as bad as possible when he and navigator David Kripal rolled their Ford shortly before the finish line: "I was so happy to be back here after winning last year. Everything was perfect during the stage, it was a wonderful one, one of the best we could dream of, but just a few meters before the finish line, it turned very badly when the car began to flip. I crossed my arms thinking that it will stop quickly, but it didn’t."
He continued: "When it finally ended, I saw that my navigator David was OK and could get out of the car easily, I turned off the engine and went out too. I’m glad that we are both fine. I’m celebrating life even if my heart is broken, just like the car. I can’t think of the future for the moment but I still want to stay in the rally just to enjoy the atmosphere and Morocco."
In the bikes, Mario Patrao could win the first stage with his KTM in 56:06 minutes in front of Maikel Smits (NL, KTM, +2:02), Gilles Vanderweyen (B, KTM, +4:41), David Wijnhoven (NL, KTM, +8:28) and Belgian Olivier Scheen (KTM, +9:26). "I enjoyed this prologue, it was very good stage and I really like this kind of stage," said Bike-Winner Mario Patrao. "The bike is perfect, everything went well. Sometimes the visibility was not so good but I could find my way and ride very fast on the beach."
In the trucks, the Dutch crew of Van Kasteren / Van Hoof / van den Bosch with their Mammoet MKR-Renault were the fastest with 47:25 minutes, 58 seconds in front of the Tatra of Loprais / Janda / Alcayna (CZ) and 1:19 mins before the second Mammoet Renault of Van den Brink / Van den Brink / De Graaf (NL). The Top 5 are completed with the Scania of the Dutch Versteijnen / Van der Sande / Dal Van (+2:22) and the Tatra of the Czech crew Vratny / Martinec / Miscolci (+2:42).
"A great start in the Rally," said Janus van Kasteren after the first stage. "Our Renault trucks made a good start with two trucks in the top three. We used the first day to come back in the Rhythm after our last start in the Dakar Rally. It´s important to feel your truck to find eventually problems. So the first day went well and we will see what will happen the next days."
Overall Standings CARS Top 10 after SS01
01) Becx, Michiel / Kuijpers, Edwin I Mitjet Buggy I 00:47:59 I 00:00:00
02) Ferreira, Paulo / Monteiro, Jorge I Toyota Hilux I 00:48:06 I 00:00:07
03) Munk, Jes / Marton, Rafal I Toyota Hilux I 00:49:55 I 00:01:56
04) Imschoot, Erwin / Imschoot, Olivier I Toyota Hilux I 00:50:51 I 00:02:52
05) Thijs, Vincent / De Leeuw, Tom I Toyota Hilux I 00:51:39 I 00:03:40
06) Willems, Maik / Van Pelt, Robert I Toyota Hilux I 00:51:54 I 00:03:55
07) Loomans, Jackie / Driesmans, Frits I Toyota Hilux I 00:54:25 I 00:06:26
08) Henrard, Stéphane / Du Bois, Gatien I Henrard VW Buggy I 00:54:51 I 00:06:52
09) Mautret, Jules / Mautret, Sylvain I Chevrolet Buggy I 00:58:06 I 00:10:07
10) Van den Broek, Martijn / Van der Vegt, Edwin I Toyota Hilux I 01:00:11 I 00:12:12
Overall Standings BIKES Top 10 after SS01
01) Patrao, Mario I KTM I 00:56:06 I 00:00:00
02) Smits, Maikel I KTM I 00:58:08 I 00:02:02
03) Van der Weyen, Gilles I KTM I 01:00:47 I 00:04:41
04) Wijnhoven, David I KTM I 01:04:34 I 00:08:28
05) Scheen, Olivier I KTM I 01:05:32 I 00:09:26
06) Talpe, Stefan I KTM I 01:06:10 I 00:10:04
07) Hofmans, Ad I KTM I 01:06:16 I 00:10:10
08) Tisdall, Matthew I KTM I 01:06:52 I 00:10:46
09) Heraud, Philippe I KTM I 01:07:13 I 00:11:07
10) Nguyen Khoa, Duong I KTM I 01:07:26 I 00:11:20
Overall Standings TRUCKS Top 10 after SS01
01) Van Kasteren / Van Hoof / Van den Bosch I Renault I 00:47:25 I 00:00:00
02) Loprais / Janda / Alcayna I Tatra I 00:48:23 I 00:00:58
03) Van den Brink / Van den Brink / De Graaf I Renault I 00:48:44 I 00:01:19
04) Versteijnen / Van der Sande / Dal Van I Scania I 00:49:47 I 00:02:22
05) Vratny / Martinec / Miskolci I Tatra I 00:50:07 I 00:02:42
06) Voerman / Stubbs / Kupper I MAN I 00:50:15 I 00:02:50
07) Huzink / Antonius / Buursen I Renault I 00:50:50 I 00:03:25
08) Smink / Nieuwenburg / Bruinsma I GINAF I 00:51:11 I 00:03:46
09) Schoones / Van der Donk / Schoones I DAF I 00:52:24 I 00:04:59
10) Timmermans / Vervoort / Roothans I DAF I 00:53:18 I 00:05:53
Photos: Morocco Desert Challenge, Teams
MOROCCO DESERT CHALLENGE
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