The Repsol Rally Team is starting its countdown to the 2020 Dakar Rally at the Rallye du Maroc, which will be held from 4–9 October. The event will be a great opportunity for Isidre Esteve to try out the latest additions to his BV6 Sodicars Racing prototype, a vehicle in which he made history one year ago by finishing in the top 10 in this event that counts towards the World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.
Isidre Esteve and his co-driver Txema Villalobos travelled to Morocco in time to carry out a preliminary test and get their vehicle ready before facing their first competition since the last Dakar Rally in Peru. After a good start, the driver from Oliana is optimistic to see what his 4x4 can do, with adapted controls integrated onto the steering wheel by Guidosimplex.
“The most striking change is the height we have gained to match rivals like Mini or Toyota, which will allow us to overcome the most difficult terrain without touching the ground. The prototype has the same configuration as the previous version, but the mechanics are totally new and, although it is going very well, we must test it in real race conditions. It will also be helpful to get a feel for the new BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KDR2+ tyres that we will be taking to the Dakar Rally, and figure out which model to use depending on the conditions in each stage”, reveals the driver from Lleida who will continue to have Repsol’s support on his new adventure.
The organisers of the Rallye du Maroc have prepared a scenario that is very similar to what competitors will face at the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia next January. "The work dynamic throughout the rally will be exactly the same as the Dakar in terms of terrain, regulations, the roadbook system, etc. In addition, we will be in a race situation and we be able to gauge where we really are compared to our rivals. That’s why, as a team, we felt it was essential to take on a test as extraordinary as the Rallye du Maroc, which could be considered a mini Dakar this year”, explains Isidre Esteve.
The Repsol Rally Team driver has fond memories of his last experience at the event in Morocco, as it was his best World Championship result since competing in a car: 9th overall and 2nd in the T1.2 category (4X4 modified diesel vehicles), as well as being the highest ranked Spanish car driver. “It was very emotional, but each rally is different and the circumstances will surely vary greatly this year. Everyone has improved and the competition will have taken in up a gear, so I am happy to stick to the pace of the race, rack up some kilometres, and be happy at the end of each stage. We'll just have to wait to see the final result”, he says.
The event in Morocco will begin on Friday 4 October with a prologue for motorcycles and quad bikes, but the cars won’t enter the fray until Saturday 5th. Around 2500 kilometres await Isidre Esteve and his co-driver Txema Villalobos, divided into five tough stages, in the areas surrounding Fez and Erfoud.