On Saturday, the athletes started the first sports day of the Morocco Rally - in total they had to cover more than 700 kilometers, almost half of which was the special stage. It was a difficult challenge for the athletes of the CFMOTO Thunder Racing Team: one of them had to choose between the risk of staying in the desert after dark or receiving several hours of penalties, meaning a much more difficult fight for a good result.
After reaching the bivouac, the Frenchman Gaetan Martinez said that it was his personal record day: "It was a very, very long day - I reached a new personal record of 720 kilometers in a day. Regardless, it went well. The first part of the track was full of stones, so we had to save the tires as much as possible. Fast sections followed, leading to the dunes. It wasn't difficult to drive there, but I lost the power steering, so it became more difficult, but I made it to the finish line. It was hard, but I liked it."
A much more difficult day was for Mindaugos Skudutis, for whom even before the first refueling zone, one of the main cables of the electrical system frayed, and over thirty so called “bacon strips” had to be used to repair the rear tires. Although the problems seem to have been solved, they kept reminding of themselves as he neared the finish line.
"Some of the stones were very difficult to spot, which caused the tires to suffer a lot. After refueling, fixing the cable and plugging the holes in the tires, I still had about 200 kilometers to go, so I decided to continue, but it was getting dark. Everything would have been fine, but I had to keep stopping to inflate the flat tires, the phone connection only came up occasionally, and I don't know if there would be enough fuel driving in this pace. When the track neared the main road, I decided to return to the bivouac on it," said M. Skudutis, tired and disappointed with the result of the day.
Since he did not cross the finish line of the special stage, the athlete received a penalty of several hours - this will make it difficult for him to fight for high positions, but the main goal of this start - to collect experience and kilometers - will not suffer from this in the least.
On Sunday, the participants will have a shorter day - a total of 400 kilometers await them, of which 296 km will be a speed section. The organizers warned before the start that, just like on Saturday, there will be many sharp stones waiting for the participants on the track, so special attention should be paid to that.