Experience counts and Stefan Svitko showed his navigation and riding skills in the first demanding stage of the Afriquia Merzouga Rally in front of Helder Rodrigues and Adrien Van Beveren.
The competitors took an early start for stage one to tackle the first 241 km long ride that started in the big dunes of the Merzouga Erg, crossed the Erg Chebbi from south to north and continued on fast grounds before finishing in the dunes.
Navigation was the key and the competitors had the opportunity to test a new type of way point - “the WPC ” (making the navigation more difficult) - that they will find also on the Dakar 2017.
Svitko (KTM), who started 11th, made the difference in the dunes passing many riders and taking the lead.
“It was a short but good ride with many dunes and pretty tough navigation,” told Svitko.
Helder Rodrigues (Yamaha) finished second after having lost some time due to a navigation mistake in the beginning, followed by his teammate Adrien Van Beveren, third.
“I was lost at the beginning and then I had to push to catch Farres and Svitko,” said Rodrigues. “Once I caught them, we rode together until the end.
“I tried to open the track as much as possible so that I could practice the navigation. The final part on the dunes was demanding because it was hard to see due to the sun”.
Ricky Brabec (HRC) set a very good performance, 4th , together with Kevin Benavides (HRC) who broke the forward button of the road book roller after two kilometres and had to proceed manually for the whole stage.
In the quad category Clemens Eicker (E-ATV) won the stage in front of Simon Vitse and Josef Machacek, both on Yamaha.
Photos: ASO/ @World/ A VIALATTE
Detailed Results: Afriquia Merzouga Rally