|Merzouga Rally: Giovanni Sala claims the first stage of the Rally in Morocco.|
The big dunes of the Erg Chebbi in Morocco were the theatre of the arrival of the first stage of the "Merzouga Rally", 171 kilometers of selective sectors with a very fast first part till the refuelling in the village of Taous an then a second part with a technical navigation in the dunes, before the arrival at the Kasbah Tombouctou, where is located the bivouac of the rally.
Desert and chronometer but also an occasion to enjoy the desert with the safety of the race as the 6 times World Enduro Champion and third on the Dakar (2006) Giovanni Sala (Italy) confirmed:
"This is my second year and I really enjoy the formula of the Merzouga Rally. It’s ideal for those who approach the desert for the first time, thanks to the great attention given to safety, but it’s also a race with a technical navigation, then in the evening you can enjoy the atmosphere of the desert with the friends. I crossed the finish first today but I think I will get some penalties as I missed some way points in the dunes at the very end of the stage."
Arturo Casanova (Spain): "It was a demanding first stage, especially the second part in the dunes. It was very hot, with the temperature heating the 40 degrees and it was difficult to maintain the concentration. I tried to do my best, paying a lot of attention to the navigation and hopefully I did a good stage."
Ben Grabham (Australia): "I did the best time in the prologue and so I opened the track of the first stage. I was comfortable on the first part till the refuelling because it was fast piste on a hard track, similar to what we are used to in Australia."
"I struggled a bit in the dunes because this is my first time that I navigate with road book and GPS but I’m happy because I’m learning a lot as we are using here the same navigation tools that we will find on the Dakar."
Pedro Bianchi Prata (Portugal): "It was a hard first stage especially for the heat. The navigation in the dunes was very technical, but i enjoyed the feeling of the open desert."
Unofficial results SS1 “Pegaso” 171 km Bikes
01) Giovanni Sala
02) Jaceck Chkzor
03) Arturo Casanova
04) Pedro Bianchi Prata
05) Ben Grabham
06) Maurizio Micheluz
07) Andrea Fesani
08) Angelo Pedemonte
Unofficial results SS1 “Pegaso” 171 km SSV
01) Abel / Manez
02) Henrichy / Hoeppo
03) Culus / Adam
2012/11/06 | 12:57 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/MOSSI