Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team riders Adrien Van Beveren, Xavier de Soultrait and Franco Caimi are all-set to contest the 2018 Morocco Rally. Using the five-stage event as part of their preparation for the upcoming Dakar Rally, the three WR450F Rally powered riders will look to end their international rally racing season on a high in Africa.
Playing host to the final round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, the 2018 Morocco Rally will see competitors go head-to-head for six consecutive days in the Saharan Desert. Opting to race selected events and not the full Cross-Country Rallies World Championship in 2018, the three Yamaha riders are ready to challenge themselves against the international elite of rally racers.
Securing a strong fifth place overall result at the Desafio Inca in September, Adrien Van Beveren wants to continue building on his speed ahead of the upcoming Dakar. Confirming his strong form with a solid seventh place result at the Desafio Inca, Franco Caimi is looking forward for the Morocco Rally challenge. As for Xavier de Soultrait, the Frenchman also has his eyes set on continuing to improve ahead of the 2019 Dakar.
Featuring a total race distance of 1,907km over a mix of hard-packed and stony trails together with some dune sections, the 2018 Morocco Rally will be a challenge for all competitors. The event kicks off with a short Prologue on Thursday, October 4, before racers set off for five tough stages from Fes to Erfoud and then back to Fes. The scheduled finish will be in the city of Fes on October 9, 2018.
Adrien Van Beveren – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
“Everything has been going well for me this last month and I am really looking forward for this last race of the season and before the Dakar. There are riders here in Morocco who will be battling for the world championship, so we expect competition to be quite elevated. For me, I’m hoping to continue improving my race pace. I want to be the best I can for the Dakar and right now I feel that there’s still some things I can improve with my riding and navigation. I need more racing kilometres and that’s exactly what I’m expecting to get out of this event. I am happy to be here and I want to make the best out of this rally in Morocco.”
Xavier de Soultrait – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
“Last time out in Peru I wasn’t able to race the give my best, so now I am really motivated to do well here in Morocco. I’ve been feeling good these last couple of weeks and I was counting the days until this race. Starting from Fes, we will then head towards Merzouga. We’ve raced a couple of events in this area and I’m feeling comfortable with the terrain. We’ll have separate tracks for the cars and the motorcycles and this probably means that it’s going to be a tricky race. We expect the average speed to be much lower than in other rallies and there’s also some enduro-styled sections. Last year I won the Merzouga Rally at this same area, so my goal this time is to continue gaining confidence on my Yamaha. If all goes according to plan, I think a top-five result is within my reach.”
Franco Caimi – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team rider
“The last few weeks have been hectic and I’m happy to be here and ready to start the Morocco Rally. After the rally in Peru I continued working hard back home in Argentina. I feel physically and mentally strong now and I want to keep getting better and better. The Morocco Rally is the last race before the Dakar, so it’s also good to see where we’re at against competition. I’m looking forward to seeing the hard work pay off. We’ve been also working on the bike lately and I’m looking forward to seeing how the changes we did can improve our performance in the race.”
Alexandre Kowalski – Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team director
“The Morocco Rally is the last race of the year and it’s a good test before the next Dakar. Returning to our team’s headquarters in France after our last race in Peru, we used the feedback collected to make some good improvements on our bike. With all three of our riders 100% ready for this event, we are really looking forward to this year’s Morocco Rally. With Adrien and Xavier missing the first part of the season due to injuries, our goal this year was to allow them to get as much time as possible racing their bikes. We are glad to have a strong presence at this year’s Morocco Rally and we are hoping our three riders will be able to show their true potential this week. So far this season, I’m happy to say our plan has worked quite well and our riders are now in the final stage of their preparations for the Dakar. Adrien, Xavier and Franco will be joined by Rodney Faggotter for the 2019 Dakar in January.”
Morocco Rally 2018 – Race Overview
Prologue | Oct 4 | Fes to Fes | SS: 10km | Total: 47km
Stage 1 | Oct 5 | Fes to Erfoud | SS1: 99km, SS2: 68km | Total: 487km
Stage 2 | Oct 6 | Erfoud to Erfoud | SS: 281km | Total: 317km
Stage 3 | Oct 7 | Erfoud to Erfoud | SS: 275km | Total: 280km
Stage 4 | Oct 8 | Erfoud to Erfoud | SS: 294km | Total: 317km
Stage 5 | Oct 9 | Erfoud to Fes | SS1: 128km, SS2: 70km | Total: 457km
Total | SS: 1,225km | Total: 1,907km