Isidre Esteve gave his best performance yet in the Rallye du Maroc on Monday. Unlike the first two stages, the Repsol Rally Driver completed the route without any setbacks, allowing him to set a good pace and get the 10th best time of the day in his BV6 prototype alongside his co-driver Txema VIllalobos.
The special was made up of 363 kilometres divided into three sectors, which Isidre Esteve completed with flying colours. His final time of 7 hours, 12 minutes, and 36 seconds earned him a place in the top 10 of this demanding race that counts toward the World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies and brings together the main Dakar competitors. In addition, the driver from Oliana came first in the T1.2 category (off-road modified 4x4 vehicles).
“We are really happy, especially because we had our first clean, incident-free stage without having to stop. We drove at a good pace and, once again, Txema’s navigation was perfect. This result is down to the efforts of the entire team that has been working hard every day to keep the car in perfect condition on the start line”, said a thankful Isidre Esteve.
The biggest change of the day was that the teams received the road book just five minutes before the start of the special with hardly any time to look it over, a taster of what lies ahead in the Dakar. “This wasn't a problem for us because we had already got familiar with the types of signs in the two previous stages and we were able to adjust our pace to the dangers indicated. You always need to leave a certain safety margin in rally raid depending on your speed so you have time to react, because things aren’t very exact”, explained Isidre.
Specifically, the Lleida-born rider was very happy to have found “the perfect balance between our race pace and aggression without risks”. This is why he was really motivated for the two remaining stages: “With the latest changes we’ve made, the car will be even faster and that’ll give us a further push in this rally, which is the perfect way to prepare for the Dakar”.
Tuesday will see the fourth and penultimate stage of 408 timed kilometres. Isidre Esteve will start in 15th place in the general classification and 2nd in the T1.2 category after achieving a total time so far of 18 hours, 38 minutes, and 42 seconds in his 4x4 with adapted controls on the steering wheel.