This Friday, the Repsol Rally Team completed the first stage of the Rallye du Maroc in an outstanding 16th position and confirmed the good sensations from yesterday’s prologue when Isidre Esteve took 13th place, his best partial result in a race that counts towards the Cross-Country Rally World Cup. The Lérida-born driver once again showcased the potential of his revamped Sodicar Racing BV6 prototype with adapted controls on the steering wheel.
This Friday’s stage took contestants from Fez to Erfoud, with two timed specials of 103 and 91 km. During the first, Isidre Esteve and his co-driver Txema Villalobos clocked a time of 1 h 53:01, putting them in a provisional 17th place in the cars category, 33 minutes behind the fastest driver and the current winner, Ten Brinke (Toyota) from South Africa.
“It was a very fast first section with complicated navigation. We missed a waypoint and we had to backtrack several kilometres to find it so that we weren’t penalised. We lost some time but the same thing happened to other drivers and we have learnt our lesson”, said the driver from Lérida.
In the second timed section, the Repsol Rally Team improved their performance and climbed to 16th place for the day, the same place they held in the general classification. Their final time was 3 h 15:15, which made them the second best team in the T1.2 category, reserved for modified diesel all-terrain vehicles.
“The second special was very scenic, with small dunes and lots of camel grass. Also it had rained and this always makes the race difficult, although it didn’t prevent us from keeping up a good speed. We are very satisfied with our first contact with sand and the performance of the BV6”, said Isidre Esteve, who clocked up a time of 3 hours, 25 minutes, and 33 seconds.
In general terms, the driver from Oliana was happy with the day. “It was a good day for us bearing in mind how fast the race was and how quickly everyone was going, which did not help us at all. We had to focus on not making any mistakes and getting the navigation right, which was complicated and meant that we had to pay really close attention at all times”.
Saturday morning sees the second stage of the Rallye du Maroc, which starts and finishes in Erfoud. The competitors must complete a 365-km route, of which 329 are timed. Isidre Esteve, who is starting out in 20th place, is predicting “a long day that will definitely be more difficult than today”.
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