The second part of the marathon stage was tough for the ‘Dream Team’ Peugeot Total on the Rallye du Maroc. On what was a shortened stage 4, both Peugeot 3008DKR crews encountered mechanical issues that the Peugeot Sport engineers will take benefit of in order to best prepare the 2018 Dakar Rally.
• Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena are now in 2nd place overall, having been classified 5th on the stage. After breaking a damper as they hit a big step in a 'danger 1' zone, they limped to the finish at a slower pace, replacing the affected parts after the special stage before heading to the bivouac. They are now 6m42s off the overall lead, having held the advantage up to now.
• It was worse for Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz, who also had their progress delayed after yesterday’s impressive fightback. They also broke a damper and were forced to stop on the stage to change it, losing 20 minutes in the process. They completed the final 16-kilometres of the stage at just 40kph, dropping them further down the order. The Spaniards were classified 28th of the stage and are now 12th overall, with one day to go.
DATAS OF THE STAGE
Average temperature: 29°C
Maximum speed: 180kph
Type of terrain: hard soil, sinuous track, vegetation, dunes
NUMBER OF THE DAY:9,000,000 The Sahara Desert – the main feature of the Rallye du Maroc – is the largest hot desert in the world, covering a staggering nine million square kilometres.
QUOTES / UNQUOTE
Bruno FAMIN Peugeot Sport Director, Team Manager Peugeot Total
“Both drivers felt the difficulty of the terrain today, after being delayed by problems with the dampers. In Sebastien’s case, it seems this was provoked by a heavy impact. We’ll obviously look closely into the causes of these failures tonight, and explore it further back at the factory in Paris. Uncovering potential issues such as this one is precisely the reason why we prepare for the Dakar Rally on challenging events such as the Rallye du Maroc! If the struggle will now be tough for Sébastien and Daniel to get back to first place with just one leg to go, the energy stays positive as this race was meant to be a training. As for Carlos and Lucas, we can count on them to keep their well-known fighting spirit whatever situation or result.”
Sébastien LOEB, Team Peugeot Total driver 5th on the stage, 2nd overall
“It wasn’t the best end to the day for us. We ended the stage slowly and lost at least 10 minutes, I would say, which clearly wasn’t what we set out to do! Right up to then it had been going well: we were quick, myself and Daniel had a very good feeling, and our confidence was high. Then today we had a mechanical failure that stopped us, with Carlos being affected by the same problem as well. At least it’s better for this sort of thing to happen here than on the Dakar. It’s highlighted a defect, or rather a fragility, and we’re going to find out what the cause of that is. As for winning the rally tomorrow, that’s going to be a tough task.”
Carlos SAINZ, Team Peugeot Total driver 28th on the stage, 12th overall
“It was a long day and I am obviously very disappointed with the result. The Peugeot mechanics are already looking at the parts that broke and I know they will find a solution very quickly. Overall, the positive thing for me is that I was back in a good rhythm, and felt very confident with the car. That bodes well for the Dakar coming in just 2 months. The marathon bivouac was OK yesterday, in the dunes. The atmosphere was very nice: we got to spend time with the other drivers, which you don’t always get the chance to do at a conventional
Tomorrow’s final leg of the rally takes in both a normal stage and a shorter superspecial. After an early start the drivers will embark on a 179.55-kilometre stage, consisting mainly of fast gravel tracks. Then after a 26-kilometre road section, there’s a final short stage of just 8.65 kilometres close to Erfoud, which signals the last of the competitive action before the finish ramp in the evening.