With the fifth and final 128km long stage taking in the last of the famous Merzouga sand dunes, it was 11-time Portuguese TT champion Mario Patrao (Suzuki) that secured the final stage win of the event.
However, having established a comfortable lead during the previous four days of competition Czachor (KTM) ended his day as runner up to claim the rally win. “I’m really happy of this result,” confirmed Czachor, winner of the Merzouga Rally. “I enjoyed the rally as it was very technical. I want to thank my team and the sponsors, Orlen. I hope to be back here next year”.
Although ending stage five in 15th position, Portugal’s Pedro Bianchi Prata (Husqvarna) ended his participation in the rally with second overall. “It’s my first podium on an African rally and I’m really satisfied of this result,” commented Pedro. “It was not easy but despite some physical problems I kept my concentration and did well in every stage”.
Impressing all with both his speed and consistency throughout the event, Italy’s Maurizio Micheluz grabbed victory in the Desert Lites class in his very first attempt at rally racing. Ending stage five in third place and less than three minutes behind Czachor, the Honda rider also claimed the final step of the podium in the overall classification with third position.
“To finish on the podium at my debut in an African Rally it’s a great satisfaction,” remarked Micheluz. “I want to thank Mirco Miotto for having given be this opportunity”.
2012 Merzouga Rally
Final Overall Standings (after stage 5)
1. Jacek Czachor (KTM) 21:12.29; 2. Pedro Bianchi Prata (Husqvarna) 21:55.53; 3. Maurizio Micheluz (Honda) 22:27.50…