Courtesy of Yamaha Racing
After more than 1,900km through the dusty trails and sand dunes of North Africa, on Tuesday Morocco Rally competitors have reached the end of the five-stage event in the city of Fes. Enjoying solid representation in both the SSV and Car categories of the rally, Yamaha had no fewer than eight YXZ1000R powered crews set out to explore the immense potential of this exciting side-by-side vehicle in true racing conditions.
Rally racers from various backgrounds and with different levels of experience got a real taste of multi-stage cross-country rally racing with Yamaha’s YXZ1000R vehicle. Among them, 13-time Dakar Rally winner Stéphane Peterhansel and Yamaha Motor Europe President Eric de Seynes took part in the rally in their YXZ1000R machines.
Stéphane Peterhansel formed a strong team with his wife Andrea Mayer as his co-driver. The two Yamaha ambassadors enjoyed the best possible start to the rally by topping the SSV class standings in the short opening Prologue. Finishing inside the top-four in each of the first three stages, they were fighting for a potential podium result but were forced to abandon the rally due to a small technical issue on the penultimate stage.
With experienced rally racer Camelia Liparoti as his co-driver, Eric de Seynes took part in the Prologue and the first two rally stages of the Morocco Rally. This was Mr. de Seynes’ first multi-stage rally with the YXZ1000R machine in Africa and one that the Yamaha Motor Europe President thoroughly enjoyed.
The end of the week-long adventure in Africa saw the team of Ahmed Alkuwari and Manuel Lucchese race their YXZ1000R machine to a strong fifth place result in the SSV class’ overall standings out of 15 teams. Battling against elite international rally drivers, Spain’s Santiago Navarro and Gabriel Pedro Lopez won the T3 class while claiming an 11th place result in the Car category’s overall standings out of 25 finishers.
Eric de Seynes – Yamaha Motor Europe President
“Racing the Morocco Rally with our YXZ1000R was a fantastic experience for me. Due to my work schedule, I could only make the first three stages, but it was enough to get a real taste of racing in Africa. There was a really high level of participants at this rally, so every detail did make a difference. It was the first time for me to race the YXZ1000R in Africa and it was easy to notice the big improvement we’ve made in the development of this vehicle. I was impressed with the performance of its engine, especially its torque that allows you to retain a good pace despite varied track conditions. With the addition of all the necessary race equipment, our machine was completely standard. We opted for this solution with Camelia, as we both wanted to see the potential of a standard YXZ1000R in racing conditions. With our participation, we proved that it is both a competitive and enjoyable machine to race.”
Stéphane Peterhansel – Dakar Rally legend
“In my opinion, Yamaha’s YXZ1000R is the perfect machine for drivers who want to make their first steps in cross-country rally racing. We’ve done a few Bajas with my wife with this machine in the past and the Morocco Rally was our first multi-stage rally with navigation. We really enjoyed every stage of the event. We raced our SSV over all kinds of terrain and I kept getting impressed by its potential in these racing conditions. It is a really enjoyable vehicle that just needs the basic modifications to become a true race machine. Looking back to our week in Morocco, our goal was to be inside the top-three on each stage. Navigation was tricky, but I am happy we never lost more than a few minutes trying to find the correct routes in the desert. Our race was cut short on the penultimate stage due to a minor technical issue with our suspension, but overall we both enjoyed this rally a lot.”
Morocco Rally 2018 – Race Overview
Prologue | Oct 4 | Fes to Fes | SS: 10km | Total: 47km
Stage 1 | Oct 5 | Fes to Erfoud | SS1: 99km, SS2: 68km | Total: 487km
Stage 2 | Oct 6 | Erfoud to Erfoud | SS: 281km | Total: 317km
Stage 3 | Oct 7 | Erfoud to Erfoud | SS: 275km | Total: 280km
Stage 4 | Oct 8 | Erfoud to Erfoud | SS: 294km | Total: 317km
Stage 5 | Oct 9 | Erfoud to Fes | SS1: 128km, SS2: 70km | Total: 457km
Total | SS: 1,225km | Total: 1,907km