Yamalube Yamaha Rally Team rider Adrien Van Beveren has got his participation in the 2019 Merzouga Rally off to an impressive start, winning the first full stage of the event on his WR450F rally machine. Ending the 207.48 kilometre timed special more than five minutes ahead of his closest competitor, the Frenchman holds a five-minute-and-two-second lead heading into the second full day of competition.
Starting his day soon after 8.00am, Van Beveren wasted no time in getting stuck into the 200+ kilometre stage. Well aware that potential navigational mistakes would be costly, he opted not to push too hard and instead took the time needed to accurately follow his road book. Making only a few small errors he successfully completed the stage. As the day’s fastest rider Adrien now has the difficult task of opening tomorrow’s stage.
The first full day of racing at the 2019 Merzouga Rally featured the third longest special stage of the event at just under 210 kilometres. Split by the day’s refuelling and neutralisation zone into two very different sections, the first required riders to focus on navigation while crossing a multitude of small dunes before reaching the Erg Chebbi – an area of large dunes, well known to rally riders. The remaining tracks and trails took riders away from the dunes, with yet more tricky navigation.
The second full stage of the 2019 Merzouga Rally will see competitors tackle a 212.22-kilometre special stage with a total distance of 307.02 kilometres being ridden. All competitors will again face challenging navigation.
Adrien Van Beveren
Yamalube Yamaha Official Team rider
“I can say I had a good starting position for today’s stage following yesterday’s prologue. That did not go perfectly, but today went well and that is more important. As expected today was tough for the navigation, maybe one of the hardest road books I have ever followed. There were so many notes and many, many changes of direction. I pushed a little, but my focus was to stay on the right tracks with good navigation. I did make some small mistakes, which is normal on a stage like we had, but I got the stage win so I am pleased. A new rule means that the team gets only two hours to work on the bike, and they did a great job and all is ready for tomorrow. Now I am preparing tomorrow’s road book. I will open the stage, so I have to make sure I don’t make any mistakes. It’s going to be a challenging day, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Merzouga Rally 2019
Stage 1 Provisional Classification
1. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 3:29:10
2. Stefan Svitko (SVK), KTM, 3:34:22 +5:12
3. Michael Metge (FRA), Sherco, 3:37:23 +8:13
4. Joaquim Rodrigues (PRT), Hero, 3:42:34 +13:24
5. Jacopo Cerutti (ITA), Husqvarna, 3:43:41 +14:31
6. Ross Branch (BWA), KTM, 3:45:26 +16:16
Merzouga Rally 2019
Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 1]
1. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 3:52:40
2. Stefan Svitko (SVK), KTM, 3:57:42 +5:02
3. Michael Metge (FRA), Sherco, 4:00:03 +7:23
4. Joaquim Rodrigues (PRT), Hero, 4:06:04 +13:24
5. Jacopo Cerutti (ITA), Husqvarna, 4:08:21 +15:41
6. Ross Branch (BWA), KTM, 4:09:06 +16:26
Race Schedule – Merzouga Rally 2019
Prologue / March 31 / Erfoud
Stage 1 / April 1 / Erfoud to Erfoud
Stage 2 / April 2 / Erfoud to Erfoud
Stage 3 / April 3 / Erfoud to Marathon Bivouac
Stage 4 / April 4 / Marathon Bivouac to Erfoud
Stage 5 / April 5 / Extreme GP