The Oilybia Rally of Morocco (04th to 09th October, 2014) is not only the penultimate round on the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup calendar but also is regarded as the final test for the Dakar Rally in January. Therefore, the Monster Energy X-raid Team and the X-Raid team are going to contest the desert rally with a total of seven MINI ALL4 Racing vehicles. In addition, Dutchman Peter van Merksteijn Jr also is going to race the event in Morocco with a MINI ALL4 Racing.
The Monster Energy X-raid Team will be represented by Nani Roma (ESP) and his French navigator Michel Périn as well as Argentinean pairing Orlando Terranova / Bernardo ‘Ronnie’ Graue. After having won the 2014 Dakar, Roma and Périn succeeded in winning another two events, this year: The Baja Aragon in front of Roma’s home crowd and just recently, they also prevailed in Peru’s Desafío Inca. Meanwhile, Terranova finished second in Spain and third in the Hungarian Baja.
For the Russians Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov, it’s not only about preparing for the Dakar. They also want to defend their FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup lead. With two more events to be contested, Vasilyev holds the lead with 192 point on his tally, followed by Nasser Al-Attiyah (136 points) in second position. The Morocco winner will be awarded 60 points. Also at the wheel of MINI ALL4 Racing: Poland’s Martin Kaczmarski who again will be supported by his Finnish co-driver Tapio Suominen. By finishing third, the pairing made it to the podium in both the Baja Aragon and the Baja Poland.
Dutch pairing Erik van Loon and Wouter Rosegaar is contesting its first season with the MINI ALL4 Racing and made it to the top 10 several times. For Aidyn Rakhimbayev (KAZ) and Anton Nikolaev (RUS), who already contested the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge for the Trebur based team, it’s the second desert rally in the cockpit of MINI ALL4 Racing. The seventh MINI ALL4 Racing will be driven by Chile’s Boris Garafulic and his new navigator, Filipe Palmeiro from Portugal. For Garafulic it’s the first rally since his very good 11th place in the Dakar.
Over the course of the Rally of Morocco, the competitors will cover a total distance of 1991 kilometres, 1441 of them in special stages. The first service park will be erected at Erfoud. The first three stages will be started from there but then, the rally train will travel to Zagora. On the first two days, the drivers will have to cope with sand and dunes, day three will feature fast and sandy sections. Following a sandy fourth stage, day five will take the teams to Marrakesh – on fast but narrow roads, across the Atlas Mountains. The sixth and final stage will be particularly challenging for the navigators and takes the competitors to the finish podium in Marrakesh.
“The Rally of Morocco represents the final big event in the run-up to the Dakar and therefore, many teams use it as final test,” reveals Team Manager Sven Quandt. “Furthermore, it’s a true challenge, due to its mix of heat, sand and dunes. Therefore, many of our drivers also use it to prepare for the Dakar. For Vladimir, it’s far more. He has got the chance of setting the course in the battle for the title.”