The rallying season returns with the 2018 Merzouga Rally. It is scheduled to take place from April 15 and will continue till April 20. Participants will have to cover a distance of 1,000 km in the sandy dunes of Morocco. And to tackle the treacherous and extremely demanding course, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team is all prepared.
Team rider Franco Caimi, who secured the third place in the 2017 season of the Merzouga Rally, is aiming higher than before. With Dakar Rally sensation Adrien Van Beveren and last year’s Merzouga Rally winner Xavier de Soultrait still on the road to recovery following injuries sustained in the Dakar Rally, Franco has been given the opportunity in this year’s rally event. He had joined the team in the starting of 2017 season, and ever since he had demonstrated his skills and talent to give one tough fight to the elite international rally riders.
Speaking about the same, Franco said, “I am really excited to line up at the start of this year’s Merzouga Rally. Last year’s event was my very first race with the team and we did quite well, securing a podium result. Things might not have gone according to plan at the Dakar, but I’ve worked really hard these last couple of months to be mentally and physically ready for the new season. We have a great team and I feel that I am now in the position to go after a good result in Merzouga. With all major teams and riders opting to race the Merzouga Rally this year, it would also be a great opportunity to see where we’re at. Going head-to-head with the best in the world gives me extra motivation to do well. I’m more than looking forward to the challenge.”
Franco had secured a podium finish in the last season on his WR450F Rally machine. And for this year, he has been training extremely hard and preparing himself both physically and mentally.
All the members of the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team have been under the guidance of team director Alexandre Kowalski, team manager José Leloir and vastly-experienced sports manager Jordi Arcarons. Hence, everyone has got high hopes to win the 2018 Merzouga Rally.
Alexandre Kowalski, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team director, said, “The Merzouga Rally will be our first event after the Dakar and it will be a great chance to see where we’re at against the best teams in the world. Last January we showed we have a bike capable of winning stages. We’ve made some minor adjustments to better prepare our WR450F Rally for the shorter stages in Morocco. The goal is to continue developing our bike in order to be even more competitive for the coming Dakar Rally. With Adrien and Xavier still recovering from their injuries, Franco will be our representative at this year’s Merzouga Rally. Following our great result from 2017, we’re looking to keep the momentum going. Franco has trained really hard and we are confident he is capable of securing another good result this year.”
The race schedule for the 2018 Merzouga Rally is as follows:
Sunday, April 15 – Prologue | Merzouga
Monday, April 16 – Stage 1 | Merzouga – Merzuga
Tuesday, April 17 – Stage 2 | Merzouga – Merzuga
Wednesday, April 18 – Stage 3 | Merzouga – Marathon Bivouac
Thursday, April 19 – Stage 4 | Marathon Bivouac – Merzouga
Friday, April 20 – Stage 5 | Extreme GP