Morocco’s first rally-raid was founded in 1982 as the Paris-Agadir, with the present day’s event directed by professional Enduro and Rally Raid driver David Castera (the director of the Dakar Rally as of March 2019).
Today, the Rallye du Maroc is currently Morocco’s biggest rally raid, drawing elite riders from around the globe – and due to close ties with the Dakar, the Rallye du Maroc is also the great pre-Dakar test for racers prepping for the world’s largest – and most dangerous – desert rally.
This year’s Morocco Rally 2021 saw a maiden win for Honda Team racer Pablo Quintanilla – a speedy gent who cleaned up the 166-kilometer final special stage after only five short months with his new outfit.
As is the case with races set in extreme topography, all racers who took part in the special experienced a few setbacks due to weather, the most notable being dust hanging in the air and a lack of wind, creating an environment that made it nearly impossible for riders who fell behind to play catch up.
The rally’s start saw KTM Factory Racing’s Mathias Walkner in the lead, with Quintanilla following close behind and eventually snatching the final stage. Runner-up and ex Ricky Brabec also rode extremely well, but the environs and resultant gap between himself and his mates almost cost him his podium place.
Other riders who completed successful runs included Joan Barreda (Sixth on the day and eleventh in the general standings), as well as Chilean rider José Ignacio Cornejo – a racer that had a fall the day before, but got back into the course yesterday and completed tenth overall place.
“It’s been a super cool rally for me.” Says Walkner to Enduro21.
“I set out this morning hoping to take the win, but I made a small mistake about halfway through that only maybe cost me a minute, but it was enough on the shortened stage to lose out.
“Second place overall is great though and to win the world championship title early is amazing. The team have been great all year, so a big thank you to them. It’s time to relax now and really enjoy the moment.”
With a fourth race of the FIM Cross-Country Rally World Championship now complete, the Monster Energy Honda Team is sitting on three stage wins in Morocco, the last win for the crew having been carried by the late Paulo Gonçalves in 2013.
The press release states that the team’s goal was to rack up as high mileage in the desert as possible for this event, prepping the racers for the difficulties of the Dakar Rally.
Stay tuned for updates, as the next battle for team Honda will take place on the home grounds of Saudi Arabia, staging the Dakar from January 1-14 next year.