On the eve of the Prologue that will officially launch the start of the 11th edition of the Morocco Desert Challenge, the 1051 participants are looking forward to the start. The technical and administrative checks were well rounded around the Al Amal place, where the 555 vehicles showed up for two days, to the delight of the Moroccan and foreign spectators who came to admire the show. Always in a friendly atmosphere, signature of this rally that continues to grow, Gert Duson and his team of 200 people have ensured the smooth running of these moments that plunge the competitors in the spirit of the raid.
Car #309 Johann Smalberger / Hennie de Klerk (South Africa)
(Hennie) “This is our first time at the MDC and also our first time in Morocco, we are really looking forward to it! We have international experience in rallies, for instance we did the Dakar last year, and managed to finish 28th overall, but we are looking forward to the 3.000 kms of this rally. I think it will be very different from what we did at the Dakar, I’m sure it has its own challenges, we are here to learn, but by now I like the atmosphere a lot, it looks very relaxed, with a lot of focus on amateurs, so not as professionally-focused and tense as other races… We are here to have some fun and a great experience!”
Bike #104 Joan Pedrero (Spain)
Joan is a very experienced, top cross-country motorbike rider with 11 participations at the Dakar including 2 stage wins. He proudly carries the “Dakar Legend” sticker in his bike…
By now, what I see is a fabulous ambience. We come from a Dakar where we had some challenges, and very bad luck, after we had to abandon due to a radiator broken by a stone. Anyway, I come here with a lot of motivation, good training, and a strong will to perform at a high level. I’ll try to be as ahead as possible and I know this will be a lot of stress because it means you have to open the stages for many kms., which is not easy, although it’s something I really like to do.
I come here aiming for a top result, but not winning is never a disappointment when you give all you can. We can have a technical issue, maybe a race incident, but the attitude is always the same: full gas in every stage! If this means winning at the end, fine, otherwise we will try to learn and be better next time.
Truck #531 Alfonso Herrero / Javier Herrero / Rodrigo de la Calle (Spain)
(Alfonso / Javier) After we saw the level of the participants in the truck category, to be honest our expectation is to finish the race, and then obviously achieving the highest position possible, but if we just finish the race we will be very happy. As for our truck, we have improved a lot the engine cooling and the suspension is very much improved with respect to the Baja configuration. We expect this is going to be a very demanding rally, for the crew and the vehicle, so we also bring a strong team, with two assistance trucks, while in Bajas you can live with just one van.
Car #322 Agostino Rizzardi / Luca Ornati (Italy)
(Agostino) I’m kind of a veteran of the MDC, with 6 participations so far, so as you can imagine the experience has been always great. This is an event I await with great expectation every year, the ambience is fantastic, including so many large and powerful trucks, it’s 3.000 kms. of pure racing, with no liaison… For me it’s a kind of vacation, because I’m not a professional driver, I do three or four race events every year and this one is my favorite one, always in my agenda.
My car is a Carrera 4 from 1988, built specifically in 2012 for rally-raid competition. It has many custom components in the chassis, suspension, cockpit, etc., but engine and transmission are standard. We have done a lot of development work over the years, I have managed to finish 4th and 5th positions with this car, one year we broke it and had to abandon, so our focus now is set on reliability, not raw speed. Let’s see what happens this year…
Car #303 Paulo Ferreira / Jorge Monteiro (Portugal)
(Paulo) It’s my second time at the MDC, last year I managed to win 5 of 8 stages so the results were not bad, but more importantly we really liked the organization, the ambience and the tracks, so here we are again. Putting the results aside, our target this year is the same: having fun, enjoying these days of holidays, enjoying the race… We love racing in the desert, and we will obviously try to do our best, but our real target is having as much fun as we can!
SSV #216 Gianernesto Astori / Francesco Tarricone (Italy)
(Francesco) I have done many rallies in Morocco, the Merzouga, the Touareg, also the Dakar, and we came here because we heard so many good things about the really from other competitors. I think this rally is different from others because of the bivouac instead of hotels (and I like bivouacs), there are no loop type of stages, it’s a large event, with so many drivers getting together… We come here with a simple aim to finish, but more importantly to have fun!
Car #345 Paul Chambers / James Ford) (Great Britain)
(James / Paul) We have done many rallies in different forms, with motorbikes, as mechanics in assistance teams, but this is our first large race together in a car. We only have experience as a team in a small event in Wales, and then the Baja Aragon last year. For us, just finishing will be good enough, but we will also try to beat the other cars similar to ours.
Car #315 Fernando Alvarez / Sergio Lafuente) (Spain / Uruguay)
(Fernando) First time at the MDC, so this is a big unknown for us. We basically race the FIA Baja Championship, but we know this is a very different kind of race. I think we have a chance to record a good result if we manage to avoid mechanical issues and race incidents (and this is easier to say than to achieve); we just come from Dubai, where the car performed perfectly, I think we have a good setup and preparation, so let’s see how it goes.
SSV #250 (Danny Pearl / Omer Pearl) (Israel)
(Omer) First time also for us in Morocco. We come from Israel, my co-driver is my father Danny, and we have two assistance mechanics. It’s a long way from Israel, but we came because this is a really big race, bigger than the Abu Dhabi DC we did last year. Our main goal is finishing, but we will seek to achieve a good final position. Above all, we expect to have fun!
Don't limit your challenges. Challenge your limits.