— OiLibya Rally Morocco 2013 – Stage 1, Sand of Cheggaga, 345 km in total, 203 km Special stage
— Inaugural win for HRC Honda and Barreda
Joan Barreda and Paulo Goncalves enjoy a perfect beginning of the OiLibya Rally in Morocco. Barreda wins the opening day, taking the first-ever stage victory aboard the brand new Honda CRF450 Rally. His HRC Honda teammate Goncalves rounds out the podium in third. World championship rival Marc Coma, on his new KTM rally machine, finishes between the two Iberians as runner-up, only a few seconds ahead of Goncalves.
Unofficial Results Stage 1:
1. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) 2:25:40 hrs
2. Coma (ESP, KTM) +00:03:09
3. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Honda) +00:03:28
4. Helder Rodrigues (PRT, Honda) +00:06:13
5. Lopez (CHL, KTM) +00:09:17
6. Javier Pizzolito (ARG, Honda) +00:10:32
7. Sam Sunderland (GBR, Honda) +00:11:09
8. Duclos (FRA, Sherco) +00:11:53
9. Alessandro Botturi (ITA, Speedbrain Rally Team) +00:12:11
10. Caselli (USA, KTM) +00:18:52
11. Ben Grabham, Australia, KTM, 22.21
— Team HRC Report – Joan Barreda claims victory on the new Honda CRF450 RALLY
‘Bang Bang’ Barreda made a spectacular come-back to the World Championship, with a win in the first stage of the Morocco Rally after setting a cracking pace from start to finish. An awesome victory for the Honda CRF450 RALLY which also saw five of its riders finish in the top seven on the day. Paulo Gonçalves and Hélder Rodrigues came in third and fourth, while Javier Pizzolito and Sam Sunderland finished sixth and seventh.
Nobody, least of all, Joan Barrera, was prepared to hold back in this, the first of the Morocco Rally. The Spanish rider clearly set out to win. In spite of a slight initial error early on whilst crossing the Cheggaga dunes, the rider from Castellón clocked up the fastest times and finished the fastest overall, over three minutes ahead of the second place rival.
Paulo Goncalves headed off from a good starting position, although he had a tough job with the amount of dust generated by riders up ahead. In spite of this, he was able to keep up a fine pace, getting on extremely well with the CRF450 RALLY, and finishing in third, thus proving that the new bike is a force to be reckoned with.
After the first way-point there were three HRC riders, Barreda, Rodrigues and Goncalves, in the first three places. Given that we are only in the first of six stages of the Morocco Rally, Hélder Rodrigues decided not to take any risks. The Portuguese rider scored the fourth fastest time of the day at 6’13” from the winner Barreda.
Team HRC Argeninian rider Javier Pizzolito, finished in sixth place, and also had nothing but praise for the hardware that took him there. Pizzolito put in a very reliable performance, since his starting position also meant that he had to put up with a lot of the dust generated by the riders ahead. Sam Sunderland also put in a good performance without too much loss of time. He finished 11’09” behind Barreda, just 30 seconds after Pizzolito.
Joan Barreda 1st 2:25’40 Team HRC
“The truth is that I’m very pleased with the opening stage, and although there is still a long way to go, I managed to keep up a good rhythm and only made a slight mistake in the dunes. I had to go back one kilometre, but I was lucky enough that the arrow on the GPS opened up right away. After I was able to set a good steady pace.”
Paulo Goncalves 2nd +03’09 Team HRC
“I had to ride in a lot of difficulty but at times being behind helped me out. The most important thing today was to make it through, and build confidence for the next few days. I’ve got to say that I’m really thrilled with the new CRF450 RALLY which went perfectly. I love this bike more and more every day. It really hit it off and I’m sure that it go well in the next couple of stages.”
Helder Rodrigues 4rt +06’13 TEAM HRC
“Today was the first day of rally and I think that it’s gone really well until now. I pushed hard, but not only because it was the first day. The great thing is that I didn’t lose too much time with the first riders, but I think that I did a great job of finishing in a good overall position.”
Javier Pizzolito 6th +10’32 TEAM HRC
“I’m very happy with the first stage. The bike gave me some really good sensations. It really has a superior mechanics to the previous one, and I’m sure we can do something with this. I’m getting used to the race, the bike and I hope to finish in a good position.”
Sam Sunderland 7th +11’09 Team HRC Rally
“I had a good day and took it quite steady in the dust. The bike worked great. I stayed safe and tried to hit my navigation good and stay out of the dust and avoid the dangers. It all went pretty good and overall I’m pretty happy.”
— KTM Report
COMA PLACED SECOND AFTER STAGE 1 OF MOROCCO RALLY
KTM factory rider Marc Coma opened his account in the OilLibya Morocco Rally on Monday with a second place finish in the stage, trailing leader Joan Barreda of Portugal by just over three minutes.
Coma is looking to seal the 2013 FIM World Cross Countries Rally Championship title at this event in Morocco, which represents the final rally of the 2013 season. He is the championship leader by a narrow three-point margin from Paolo Goncalves of Portugal and the contest is expected to be tough between these and other riders. The rally is disputed over six stages, much of it in typical sand and dunes, the preferred terrain for KTM’s three-times Dakar Rally winner.
The Red Bull KTM Factory Team are also using the rally as its final preparations and testing before the Dakar Rally in January 2014 and have unleashed the brand new KTM 450 Rally bike for the occasion. Joining Coma in Morocco are factory riders Chaleco Lopez of Chile and Ruben Faria of Portugal who finished 5 and 12. Teammate Kurt Caselli (USA) was ranked at seventeenth after the opening day after incurring a 20-minute penalty for missing a waypoint. KTM Australia’s Ben Grabham was a creditable eleventh after stage one and the secodn KTM support rider, Riaan Van Niekerk of South Africa was sixteenth.
The track took riders over two liaisons of 77 km and 65 km and one selective timed sector of 203 km. They first crossed small dunes before having to navigate to Oued Draa over many parallel tracks. They then hit the first of the challenging dunes that brought them across the beautiful erg Cheggaga from southwest to northeast.
Coma said he had been satisfied with his first day on the new KTM 450 Rally bike in real competition saying: “In principle it seems like everything is going according to plan. Now we must focus on finding the bike’s limits and work to further develop this. We did a good job today in a stage that was quite complicated and in which navigation was very important. Tomorrow is a completely different. There will be a lot of stones and it will be very technical and physically demanding. We must be very focused.”
KTM Factory Team manager Alex Doringer said it had been a good first day of the rally with the new bike. “We are very satisfied with Marc’s ride in second place and we had no technical problems at all with the new bike,” he said adding that Ruben Faria is still having some problems with his hand, which he broke contesting the Dos Sertoes Rally in Brazil several months ago. “Chaleco (Lopez) took it easy today and we are happy with his position after the first stage but Kurt Caselli, our rookie team member made a navigational mistake and missed a waypoint. It is a learning process for him.” Caselli was the replacement rider for the injured Marc Coma in the 2013 edition of the Dakar Rally but is now part of the official factory team.
The rally is made up of six stages and tomorrow riders tackle a liaison of 49 km, a selective sector o 240 km and another short liaison of nine km as they travel in a circular route from Jbel to Jbel.
— Speedbrain Report – Speedbrain riders battle the dust, Botturi lying ninth after stage one
The Speedbrain trio of Alessandro Botturi (Italy), Jeremias Israel (Chile) und Juan Carlos Salvatierra (Bolivia) rode well through the dunes of Cheggaga and can be satisfied with their first day at the OiLibya Morocco Rally 2013. The bikes worked fine and all three riders finished the first of six stages inside the Top 20.
The opener was tricky in terms of navigation. Israel started with a storming speed and close to the front runners. But the Speedbrain newcomer then experienced some problems with his navigation device. Botturi meanwhile rode a smart and tactical stage. Not risiking too much, the Italian crossed the finish line behind a group with Paulo Goncalves as one of the main contenders. Botturi was rewarded with ninth place in the provisional classification.
Bolivia´s Salvatierra delivered a steady performance. “Chavo” and Israel battled with dust for most of the day, because the starting order gave them a bit of a disadvantage. They will now be better off when stage two begins on Tuesday morning.