Rallye Du Maroc: Al Attiyah Wins Stage 3| MENAFN.COM

Friday, 09 December 2022 11:34 GMT

Rallye Du Maroc: Al Attiyah Wins Stage 3

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) The Peninsula

Agadir, Morocco: Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah yesterday won the 299 kilometre-long third stage of the Rallye Du Maroc as the Qatari driver fought back to stay in contention for his seventh rally -raid title in Morocco.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing driver won the stage in 02:58:24secs, beating Frenchman Guerlain Chicherit (GCK Motosport) by 1 minute 21 seconds and Jakub Przygonski (X-Raid Mini JCW Team) by 2 minutes 01 second. 

Al Attiyah's effort saw him cut down the overall gap with leader Chicherit to 27 minutes and 37 seconds.

Chicherit, who has been battling in the leading positions for two days, moved up to the top of the overall rankings after the third stage to hold his advantage in the World Rally-Raid Championship for Bahrain Raid Xtreme (BRX). 

Two other Prodrive Hunter drivers make up the provisional podium: Orlando Terranova, 47 seconds behind, and Sebastien Loeb, 3 minutes 50 seconds.

While a puncture and navigation problems lost Loeb his overnight lead on a stage won by Al Attiyah in a Toyota Hilux, the nine-time World Rally Champion still finished the day in third spot overall, 4 mins 50 secs off the lead.

He is almost 23 minutes ahead of the Qatari, his big rival in the race for the World Rally-Raid title, who lies fourth overall, with two more desert stages remaining before the finish in Agadir tomorrow. 

Prodrive Hunters were 1-2-3 overall for a second straight day. Chicherit was denied a first stage win in the Hunter by his own puncture issues, and a navigational problem, but still managed the second fastest time on the 299 km competitive section.

“It was a tough day, like every day here,” he said at the finish.“We tried to win the stage because the plan was to take the lead in the rally, so we got 50 per cent of it right.”

“We made a mistake in navigation and lost a lot of time at this point. But rallying is like this. I love the car more every day, and now we are leading the rally with two more days to go, so we need to stay focused”.

For a third day running, Chicherit showed his liking for the Hunter by setting the early pace, before Loeb, Al Attiyah and then Al Rajhi in turn took the lead on the stage over the first 186km.

But, as on the previous day, a series of punctures then took their toll, including one for Loeb and two, including a slow puncture, for Chicherit. Rated as the most difficult stage of the rally, yesterday's competitive section presented a combination of dunes, tracks and plateaux, adding up to a stern test of driving and navigational skills in the Western Sahara desert.

It was always likely to claim some casualties on a route which started and finished at the new Laayoune bivouac, where the rally was resting for a second night, ahead of today's 346 km penultimate stage to Tan-Tan.



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