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Kevin Benavides and #rickybrabec were today able to confirm that the great difficulties of the Afriquia #merzouga #rally lie in the hugely-demanding navigation. In the first stage of the #rally, the Team HRC duo posted top-five finishes.
Team HRC entered into the thick of things in the Afriquia #merzouga #rally, clocking up just over two hundred kilometres in a tough first stage. Today saw the first dosage of dunes in the Erg Chebbi and, more significantly, some demanding navigation during the 165 kilometres of special stage. The team’s two young hopefuls got the chance to put a lot of the accumulated theory into practice today.
Kevin Benavides set the best time yesterday in the short three-kilometre prologue and set out in today’s special from fifteen starting position hoping to make up time on the adversaries ahead. Nevertheless, the Argentine’s roadbook jammed up very early on and he was forced to move the sheet manually. This caused the rider to lose control of the bike on several occasions whilst riding the dunes with one hand. The result was a slight loss of time and an eventual fifth final position.
Ricky Brabec, third in yesterday’s prologue, who seemed at ease attacking the dunes aboard the #honda #crf450rally, also ran into some trouble with the roadbook and had to settle for a fourth place on the day and the corresponding fourth position overall.
Tomorrow the riders can expect a second stage with two very different specials. The first part will feature 31 kilometres of dunes in #merzouga followed by a neutralization section. Next comes the second special stage, a speedier 150 km stretch – total of 341 kilometres on the day.
Ricky Brabec and #kevinbenavides get the 2016 season underway for Team HRC
Kevin Benavides, after having posted a brilliant fourth place on his #rally #dakar 2016 debut earlier this, will line up alongside fellow #dakar rookie #rickybrabec, who finished ninth. Benavides, just five minutes shy of a #dakar podium place, has been chosen along with Brabec to represent a revamped Team HRC, back in competition with the first date of the #dakar Series: the Afriquia #merzouga #rally.
The race, which Team HRC won in 2013 with Sam Sunderland, is one of the trickiest in the calendar, and is renowned for its highly-demanding navigation. The #rally should prove to be a steep learning curve for both Brabec and Benavides.
The #merzouga #rally will give #rickybrabec, USA, his first taste of #racing on African soil. For #kevinbenavides, Argentina, this will be the second occasion in which he competes in Morocco, after having scored a notable fourth place there in October last year.
The Afriquia #merzouga #rally will be held in the surroundings of #merzouga and Erg Chebbi, from Monday, May 23 until Friday, May 27. It will consist of five stages plus a prologue to take place on Sunday afternoon and will also include a marathon stage, during which, riders will not be allowed to make any mechanical repairs to the bikes. The final day’s #racing will commence with a spectacular Le Mans-style start. The route is a total of 1,519 kilometres, 972 of them are special stage.
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