Setback for Isidre Esteve during the prologue of his Morocco début

3 minutes

The Repsol Rally Team driver covered the first 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) of the race despite a failure in his Dakar prototype’s clutch system.

Coche del Repsol Rally Team corriendo en tierra seca
Setback for Isidre Esteve during the prologue of his Morocco début

“There was a problem with the steering wheel’s electronics, and during the entire special, my co-driver Txema Villalobos had to operate the clutch with his fingers when I gave him the signal.”


This Thursday, Isidre Esteve made his début in the Morocco Rally, part of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies. This is the Repsol Rally Team driver’s second competition of the season, and his main objective is to see how new Sodicars BV6 prototype fares in conditions similar to those he’ll be facing in the upcoming Dakar 2018. The day 1 results were affected by a problem with his car’s electronic clutch system.

The Moroccan test began with a 12-km (7.5-mile) super special stage in Fez, which marked Isidre Esteve’s return to competition after the seasonal break. Unfortunately, minutes before the race began, the driver found himself unable to use clutch due to a problem with the controls on the steering wheel, which has been adapted due to his spinal injury.

“Just before starting the race, we were unable to use the clutch due to a problem in the electrical adaption system”, explained Isidre Esteve. This unexpected setback meant he was three minutes late starting the race, but he was finally able to get moving thanks to the Repsol Rally Team co-driver’s firm grasp of mechanics.


“Txema Villalobos disassembled the clutch system so he could operate it from the co-driver’s seat when I gave him the signal. This meant we had to go at a very slow pace, although the main thing is that the team has enough time to fix problem now, and tomorrow we can drive normally”, said the driver, who is sponsored by Repsol and Onyx Seguros.

His final time was 19’38’’, which places him 42nd in the overall standing and 11th in the T1.2 category, reserved for modified 4×54 diesel vehicles. This means he’ll start off at a disadvantage on Friday as he begins the first stage of the rally, which starts in Fez and ends in Erfoud, covering a total of 827 kilometres (513 miles), of which 367 (228 miles) are timed.

“It will be a difficult stage, with two long connections and more than 300 timed kilometres [180 miles]. There are all types of roads, with slow zones, uphill and downhill, and hard track, although there won’t be any dunes. My plan is to cover as much distance as possible in order to perfect the car’s set-up and prepare the team in preparation for the next Dakar, although I always try to stay competitive”, Isidre Esteve declared.

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