TIMES OF SAND: SA's Hilux pair Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz finished fourth on the Oct 6 stage of the 2014 Rally of Morocco. Image: Toyota SA
MARRAKECH, Morocco - Monday's 314km stage of the Rally of Morocco was not only the longest of the event but also technically the most challenging and from it the SA Toyota team posted the fourth-fastest time.
Argentina's Orlando Terranova (Mini X-Raid) won the stage; Qatari driver Nasser al-Attyah was second-fastest, 1min57 behind Terranova.
The route consisted of long, undulating sandy sections and South African entry Giniel de Villiers / Dirk von Zitzewitz (Toyota Hilux) did well.
TEST - BUT TRYING FOR WIN!
"We lost a bit of time," today," De Villiers said, "but we are still happy with our performance. We ran some specific tests for Dakar on today's set-up and it may not have been the best for the day's stage.
"Even so, we must remember that we are here to test for Dakar, as much as trying to win the race."
Monday's monster stage also saw the demise of defending Dakar champion Nani Roma (Mini X-Raid), forced to a stop only 12km after the start. He was seen working on his race vehicle but later had to retire.
Contrary to Roma's fate, Dutch driver Bernhard ten Brinke, with Tom Colsoul (Belgium) reading the notes, posted the third-fastest time on Monday. The pair brought their Overdrive Racing Toyota Hilux home three minutes behind Terranova and only 35sec ahead of Villiers / Zitzewitz.
Ten Brinke is a seasoned racing driver, having competed in a variety of disciplines that includes rallying, cross-country racing and the Dakar (eighth in 2012).
FINALE IN MARRAKECH
After three stages, having covered a total race distance of 801km, it is al-Attyah who leads the Rally of Morocco. Terranova is second (40sec behind al-Attyah. Villiers / Zitzewitz are third, 2min17 the leader, with Ten Brinke fourth.
Today's (Tuesday Oct 7) stage was scheduled to start in the town of Zagora and end 226km away in the settlement of Cheggaga.
The terrain is listed as mixed, with some dunes, riverbeds and hard gravel.
The Rally of Morocco will fInish on Thursday October 9 with a finale in the capital, Marrakech.