SS1 Merzouga – Merzouga 582 km
It was a demanding and long day: 582 km in total with 2 selective stages and 85 km of neutralisation. The competitors took the start heading into the big dunes of Merzouga for the first 31 km of selective stage. A full immersion in the sand before tackling the second selective stage of 150 km of fast tracks over the plateau between Boudnib and Er Rachidia.
Stefan Svitko (KTM), the overall leader, opened the track for the whole stage, leading the way at the CP1, the CP3 and at the finish line. He was already tasting the win, but in the end it was the Spanish Farres (KTM), who started 6th, to claim todays’ victory by 1’18 on Van Beveren (Yamaha) and 1’33 on Svitko. The provisional standing sees Benavides (HRC) 4th and Rodrigues (Yamaha) 5th with the first top 5 all closed in 5 minutes after a 582 km long stage.
Gerard Farres: “Crossing the dunes early in the morning was really nice and all in all it was a good stage. We changed completely landscape and terrain in the second selective section that featured difficult navigation and many changes of direction”.
Stefan Svitko: “I enjoyed a lot the dunes at the start. I opened the track and it was long and demanding, but in the end a very good training for Dakar”.
Adrien Van Beveren: “I’m satisfied. I had a good feeling with my Yamaha, which is a step forward compared to the one we used on the Dakar. I liked the dunes but also the fast tracks of the second selective stage”.