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AMV Shamrock: NPO presents a technical route for 100 percent pleasure

Reconnaissance of the route for the "AMV Shamrock-Rallye du Maroc" (21st to 27th September 2008) has just finished. The challenge was to find the greatest variety of terrain in the region stretching from Laayoune to Smara. The results mean that competitors will have a global vision of all the difficulties they could possibly encounter in Africa. Professionals and amateurs alike, there’s something for everyone.

For Stéphane Clair, General Director at NPO, it was important that the principle of the race remained simple and faithful to the spirit of the AMV-Shamrock. Competitors will drive on a circuit varying between 130 and 200km, to be completed once or twice with assistance to hand. The first loop of the day will be followed by a 30-minute break before the second loop. NPO wanted flexibility in terms of the rules and there will be no disqualification if a competitor does not complete a second circuit; there will only be severe time penalties.

This edition will continue the tradition of conviviality that has made the event such a success. The epicentre of the rally will be Laayoune on the edge of the Sahara with a bivouac installed by the sea, and many events held on the beach.

The race will include chotts, beaches, wadis, off-piste dunes, ergs with particularly tricky sand. The rhythm of the race could be described as ‘crescendo’. The first relatively short circuit is ideal for a "reasonable" warm-up but is nevertheless a very varied course including some great off-piste sections. It’s a great way to start the week with a wonderful sample of African terrains.

The original aspect of the programme is that every other day, the race moves closer to the Atlantic on sandy terrain. The final circuit will be on the beach but not necessarily easy to negotiate.

This is an ideal rally for beginners because it is accessible for bikes and quads, cars and trucks; this year, it will also be open for the first time to SSVs. After its success at the Rally of Tunisia, the Enduro Cup will also be in Morocco. This formula means entering the race on an original bike with refuelling every 90km (like for SSVs). Finally, to make life even easier for the competitors, NPO is organising round-trip transportation for bikes and quads, from France to Laayoune.

Everything has been done so that the competitors, whatever their level may be, can explore the many facets of the Moroccan desert in total safety and with top quality logistics and sporting organisation. The security plan and road book have been particularly fine-tuned, meeting all the regular criteria of NPO rallies. Rankings are part of a new management system and every evening competitors can see how they are doing.

Jean-Louis Schlesser, driver and Team Manager with an amazing record of achievements never tires of driving in South Morocco at the wheel of his buggies: "The advantage of this race is the quality and diversity of the terrain. It is of course a genuine competition but it’s also a formidable opportunity to develop the vehicles and check out certain technical advances. The fact that you return every day to the same place means you can work more easily and reduces a great many logistics problems. For private teams, test sessions in Morocco mean a huge investment particularly in terms of security. For the Rally, we can enjoy the infrastructure provided."

2008/09/10 | 15:06 CET | Editor: MR/HS/NPO

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