The final stage of the the OiLibia Rally of Morocco celebrated two giants of the rally world. On the podium, are Cyril Despres (KTM 450 Factory No. 2), on his KTM and Eric Vigouroux and Alex Winocq (Trophy Truck No 308) opening the champagne bottles, with deserved victories at the end of six days of racing and more than 2,000 kilometres.
Big blue skies greeted the finish line of the OiLibya Rally of Morocco, the backdrop: the beautiful dunes of Tinfou. He’d left in eighth place after losing a lot of time yesterday, but Cyril Despres (KTM 450 Factory No. 2) perfectly managed his time today, not yielding to the pressure set by the Spaniard Joan Barreda (Husqvarna 450 No 8). Serenely, the quadruple winner of the Dakar recited his lines perfectly, also adding a fourth crown in Morocco. Behind him, Barreda, and the Chilean Francesco ‘Chaleco’ Lopez (KTM 450 No. 7) confirming that we can count on them in a little more than two months in South America.
Winner of the last stage, but robbed of a perfect race by an engine failure Thursday, Portugal’s Helder Rodrigues (Honda CRF450 Rally No 3) also showed that the Japanese brand had not invested lightly in this in this great adventure. Except for Marc Coma (KTM 450 Factory No. 1), the victim of a fall and a dislocated shoulder on Wednesday, all names in the discipline confirmed their high level of competition just weeks before the Dakar. This is the case, for Alain Duclos (Sherco 450 No. 21), the first competitive outing of the new Sherco, was a great success and offers all the guarantees of a great success in the coming months seeing how the intensity of the Rally of Morocco OiLibya could serve as a true test, for men and their machines.
And then there are all the other amateurs who came to this OiLibya Rally of Morocco to live the simple pleasure of attending and experiencing an adventure out of the ordinary in an exceptional country. This is the spirit desired by NPO by creating a few years ago, the Enduro Cup, reserved for production motorcycles, without any preparation. To see the beaming face of Philippe Dasse (KTM 450 No. 254), champagne in hand on the podium in this event, you could easily imagine what it feels like for his client and friend in the Piboules Racing team : Joel Vidal (KTM 450 No. 250), last year’s winner and second this time. Same for Laurent Moulin (Yamaha 450 No. 251), on the third step of the podium after a remarkable race.
Not forgetting the wonderful story of Thierry Picco (Yamaha 450 No. 51). This French amateur, Suffering from cancer two years ago, decided to defy the Moroccan tracks and offer himself a great victory against the disease with his association ‘Two wheels against cancer’.
Vincent Albira (Honda no 200), winner in the quad cat. , despite a puncture during the final stage. Leading the event last year Vincent had to give up two days from the finish. This time, he signed a victory by beating Frédéric Alard (Honda No. 273). Second scratch, but the winner of the Enduro Cup in front of Pascal Delesque (Honda No. 271) who had trouble believing his performance.
Vigouroux … almost kept the pace!
They came to Morocco … just for fun of it, really just to offer their Trophy Truck, a final exit after 7 years of development, Eric Vigouroux and Alex Winocq accomplished the incredible challenge of winning their first major African rally, cheekily in front of the professional teams’ beards! And yet, the most American of French pilots almost missed the occasion. Confident with nearly three quarters of an hour on the Russian Novitsky (Mini All 4 Racing No 301), he had to stop in the middle of the stage to discover a transmission problem. Suffice to say that the last 90 kilometres of the OiLibya Rally of Morocco, were stressful but he crossed the line in slow motion, and retained nearly 18 minutes over the Russians. Second stage won by Polish Holowcyc (Mini All 4 Racing No. 303), after his technical problems yesterday, Brazilian Guilherme Spinelli and his compatriot Youssef Haddad (n Mitsubishi ASX No 309) completed the podium highlighting the potential of this new car strait out of the workshops of Thierry Viardot in Pont de Vaux.
And if, after his podium in 2001, Boris Garafulic, accompanied by Gilles Piccard (BMW X3 No 305) confirms his beautiful arrangements here in Morocco, the Russian Leonid Ogorodnikov (Toyota Hilux Pickup No. 306) is the most consistent driver of Team Overdrive.
In the amateurs, T2 category, reserved for production cars, the French duo Genovini / Chahinian (Toyota No 338). Consistent since the beginning of this OiLybia Rally of Morocco were especially careful not to take any chances on the final stage. In the final rankings, they are ahead of the other Toyota (No. 344) of Faloux / Buesa and the Italians Bellini Crivellari in their Nissan (No. 330). A special mention also for the 100% lady team formed by Céline Merle-Beral and Clemence Joyeux (Toyota No 337), fourth in the category with an excellent 27th place overall for the two novices ..
Eighth of the stage and tenth overall Jean- Antoine Sabatier and Frédéric Drault (Buggy Predator No. 370) show very clearly that ‘low cost’ projects can do exceedingly well. Winner of the Open Category in front of his clients Cédric Chalvin and Christelle Lacroix (Buggy Predator No. 378) and the duo Dupont / Martegoutte (Toyota No. 376), the Franco-Moroccan driver succeeds here a magnificent publicity stunt for the dozen of Predators that has for rent on African rallies…
De Rooy is ready!
They came, they saw, they conquered! The Team De Rooy Iveco did not leave a single grain of sand to their opponents during this OiLibya Rally of Morocco. Crowning on all stage wins, Gerard De Rooy and Miki Biasion, confirmed that they literally flew over the competition. In the end, the Dutch driver, winner of the last Dakar wins ahead of his teammate. After a week validating technical innovations, he confirms that he will be the man to beat in the January in South America.
Elisabete Jacinto, signs her second consecutive podium here in Morocco. The Lusitanian driver always looking for the best suspension is all setup for the next Africa Eco Race, ahead of the Italian Bellina (Ginaf No. 407), the Dutch Timmermans (DAF No. 409) and the Polish Domovnik (n Mercedes No. 408).
Cyril Despres (Fra / KTM 450 Factory No. 2): “It was a rally with ups and downs; I learn that this is the fourth time that I win it, and I am particularly pleased because it is a rally of its own. Of course, two months before Dakar, preparation is essential, especially in terms of navigation where Morocco leaves no room for error. ‘
Joan Barreda (Esp / Husqvarna 450 No 8): “The whole Husqvarna Speedbrain team has done an extraordinary job and I am very happy with this second place. The OiLibya Rally of Morocco is particularly demanding. The fact that all the major teams taking part in the Dakar were present, gives even more depth to our performance … ”
Francesco Lopez (Chi / KTM 450 No. 7): “In the end, third place is a great benefit for me. It was a very complicated and demanding rally in terms of navigation. I can say today, that I am ready for a big performance in a few weeks at home in Chile. ‘
Paulo Goncalves (Por / Husqvarna 450 No. 5): “Of course a few regrets with this rear wheel problem during the fourth stage, this rally was very important for me and my team for the next Dakar. Otherwise everything worked well and I think we’re ready … ”
David Frétigné (Fra / Yamaha 450 No. 12): “It was the perfect race to regain the rally feeling after months of inactivity. Our new bike is evolving and shows promising developments. With two broken ribs, I had to ride a more cautious pace, but it allowed me to focus on the navigation, which has never been my strong point and that is particularly difficult here in Morocco. ”
Alain Duclos (Fra / Sherco 450 No. 21): “It was a good week for me and the whole team developing this new bike. Of course, we still have a little way to go, but for a modest structure we have done a great job, full of promise for the future … ”
Vincent Albira (Fra / Honda Quad No. 200): “After a few navigational errors yesterday, a puncture today, that made me lose some of my lead. Finally, I signed here that long-awaited victory. It was a great rally and I can now envisage a large rally. Probably the Africa Eco Race next year … ”
Frédéric Alard (Fra / Honda Quad No 273): ” a few weeks ago, I finally got my quad back that had been stolen in Chile last January, it was in an indescribable state. I worked night and day to restore it. So you understand why I’m so happy to finish second scratch and first in the Enduro Cup quads. ‘
Philippe Dasse (Fra / KTM 450 No. 254): “The OiLibya Rally of Morocco is the ideal race to organize a Enduro Cup. Class It is intense and both quite affordable for smaller budgets. I’m sure the class will experience a tremendous growth in the years to come … ”
Marcel Huggevoort ( Ndl, Bas Motor Team, KTM, No 38):” This is a very exciting race, although yesterday’s sandstorm was very tough. Today’s last stage was difficult, a lot of stones and holes, but nice not to have the cars and trucks on the special as usual with the Grand Prix finish. This is my second time on the OilLibia Rally of Morocco, last time I reached 19th/20th; I’ve been a bit slower this time but have been rehearsing for the Dakar. We have six bikes, 3 mechanics and one team leader in our team and there is a good atmosphere. The Organisation is great. And would like to thank my wife Christa, children Bart and Lisa for all their support!”
Cedric Meiffret ( Fra, Piboules Racing, KTM, No 256):” It’s may first major rally (Maya twice before), On the only 250 of the competition, and it’s a child’s dream that I am fulfilling: I am 40, enough money to pay for it and enough time to accomplish the race so I decided to go for it. I met all my favourite champions, who are completely approachable. Wow! I think I should be in the 39/40’s overall and that is a complete victory for me, specially after todays tricky special. A lot of hidden surprises, but definitely the most beatifull of the Week. By the way a big thank you to ZEF, for following via satellite all week: thanks mate!”
Thierry Dezeiraud ( Fra, T2R Aventures, KTM, No 48):” What a tough special, fast but you had to keep an eye out for everything. But definetevely the cherry on the cake finishing in the dunes, because you always think that Marocco is all about stones. The rally was great but I had a few scares: Last year I left the Dakar on the first day. I thought my bad luck had been following me when I was ill on Sunday night the day before the first special: I took the start, bad idea! The helicopter had to rescue me with acute dehydration, I was obliged to relax on the second special but since then Absolute Pleasure, at last, my luck has turn for the better”.
Stephane Millochau (Fra, Nomad Racing, KTM, No 42 ):” It’s my first Rally, but I am a ex motorbike racing freak. 12 years in racing, I reached 7th in the Le Mans race so no stranger to speed and endurance. My weakness is navigation, but this rally has helped me tremendously, and I think I have cracked it ! There’s a great atmosphere here at the rally and at the bivouac. I believe it’s the start of something good for me. I would like to thank all those who supported me throughout: I am talking about my family and friends: Thanks guys!”
Nicolas Chiche (Fra, Piboules Racing, KTM, No 61) : « Fantastic ! Last year I was here in Enduro cup, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself and decided to return. The special was made more interesting by the rainfall of last night, good. I appreciate the organisation here and that everyone’s is accessible, including the pros. I would like to say a big thank you to my wife: Euguenia for her support and my great kids: Lucas, Margaux, Quentin and Julien !”
INTERVIEWS CARS / TRUCKS
Eric Vigouroux (Fra / Trophy Truck No 308): “What a stress when, halfway, Alex and I heard strange noises in the transmission. We stopped and we realized that we had to drive slowly all the way to the finish line. Fortunately, it held. This is a great reward for the whole EV Racing team after seven years of intense work. We are working on a project with a major manufacturer in the future. But I confess to being a little sad to have to leave this fabulous Trophy Truck which is really perfect on this type of rally … ”
Leonid Novitsky (Rus / Mini All4Racing No. 301): “I have always had a very intense relationship with this OiLibya Rally of Morocco on which I started in rally raid four years ago. Even if everything was not perfect, I was very happy to share this new experience with my friend Oleg Tyupenkin. The car is amazing and I feel quite ready for the Dakar. ‘
Guilherme Spinelli (Bra / Mitsubishi ASX No. 309): “The key for us was to finish the rally and to drive as many kilometres as possible to develop the new car. The stage victory on the first day and this place on the podium, is something we did not expect. This is particularly encouraging for the future! ‘
Thierry Genovini (Fra / Toyota No. 338): “After a week of intense rallying and almost without fail, we decided to slow down for the last stage in order not to lose the benefit of all our efforts. The next goal will be a marathon rally … ”
Gerard De Rooy (PB / IVECO No. 401): “A great rally, a flawless team effort for IVEC-DE ROOY and a great satisfaction to be able to adjust the final details of our truck for the Dakar. We feel ready to defend our title won last year in the Dakar … ”