2018 Dakar: last dress rehearsal in Morocco

Early-October saw the top teams and crews due to star on January’s Dakar travel to North Africa for the Rally OiLibya du Maroc which provided them with a chance to prepare for the 40th edition of the world’s toughest cross-country rally.

The Rally OiLibya du Maroc’s autumn date has long made it the perfect fixture to fine-tune preparations ahead of the infamous Dakar. This parameter was perhaps even more relevant this time round since the Moroccan dunes allowed crews to get in some practice ahead of the 2018 Dakar’s early competitive sections which will feature sandy ground in Peru.

The majority of the expected 2018 Dakar front-runners made the trip to North Africa, including Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Hilux/BFGoodrich®), while Peugeot-Total ran BFGoodrich®-equipped 3008 DKR Maxis for Sébastien Loeb and Carlos Sainz. Team X-Raid was out in force, too, with BFGoodrich®-fitted Mini ALL4 Racings for Mikko Hirvonen, Orlando Terranova, Nani Roma and the USA’s Bryce Menzies.

Early action was dominated by the Peugeot 3008 DKRs, but the win ended up in the hands of Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah who also wrapped up his second straight FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup title with Toyota/BFGoodrich®. “The weather proved a big challenge this year and we had a tough fight with Peugeot and Mini,” observed Nasser at the finish. “This victory is a big confidence-booster ahead of the Dakar.”

Loeb and Sainz were both delayed by damper-related issues on the penultimate stage. “Morocco gave our crews a chance to compete on the sort of terrain they can expect in South America,” noted Peugeot-Total Director Bruno Famin. “It also allowed them to clock up valuable mileage and pinpoint the areas we need to work on before the 2018 Dakar.”

Five Mini ALL4 Racings completed the Rally OiLibya du Maroc in the top 10, led by Nani Roma who came third behind Al-Attiyah and Loeb. The Spaniard made it an all-BFGoodrich podium that featured three different carmakers, which points to yet another thrilling Dakar in January!

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