Rallye du Maroc 2015, Nasser 2nd for MINI ALL4 Racing
Round 9 of the 10-round series of the 2015 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup has seen a frenzied bout of action during the first two days of the Rallye du Maroc 2015, Morroco (3-9th October). After two arduous days racing on the rock strewn Moroccan landscape, a competitive order is now being established with MINI ALL4 racing crews prominently featured.
At the end of the second day (Leg 2 of 5), the MINI ALL4 Racing crew – and present championship leaders – of Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) and co-driver Mathieu Baumel (FRA) are well placed in second position, just 00:01:24 adrift of the leader.
Because it is possible that MINI and Nasser Al-Attiyah can claim the world championship title at Rallye du Maroc, the penultimate round of 2015 FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, Al-Attiyah was prepared for a careful controlled race. This was underlined with his pre-race comment in answer to whether he felt any pressure: “No. No pressure. No nothing. I just need to make a good race without any mistakes. We have a lot of experience with this kind of pressure…” His careful driving and subsequent shift of position from third on Day 1 to second after Day 2 underlines the calibre of his driving skill.
A strong showing during Day 2 by Dutch duo Erik Van Loon and Wouter Rosegaar has placed their MINI ALL4 Racing in fifth position; a shift upwards on the leader board of two places. With a time difference of just 00:17:14 from the front runner, this can be overhauled very easily – in the world of cross-country rally, the old adage of “not knowing what’s around the corner” holds true. So far this season, punctures have been quite influential in final race standings.
This penultimate round is also one that prepares the latest generation of drivers to the rigours of the fast approaching 2016 Dakar Rally. Rallye du Maroc is the last desert rally of the 2015 championship and is vital experience for all MINI ALL4 Racing crews, especially new hands such as Mikko Hirvonen (FIN).
Presently Hirvonen and French co-pilot Michel Perin lie in tenth position. Racing on hard packed and loose desert terrain for long durations of distance and time is not to be dismissed and with every Leg Hirvonen is rapidly increasing his repertoire of driving skills.
Fellow MINI ALL4 Racing crew of Harry Hunt (GBR) and German co-pilot Andreas Schulz are making good progress as a coordinated pairing. A remarkable jump of six positions from Day one to finish in 12th place after Day 2 shows just how determined the young Englishman is.
Polish motorcycle cross country rally star Jakub Przygoński is extending his four-wheel cross-country rally experience to good effect. In only his second race in a MINI ALL4 Racing, and with Belarusian Andrei Rudnitski by his side, Przygoński has maintained 13th place.
Adam Malysz (POL) and co-driver Xavier Panseri (FR) are currently in 16th place. With three more legs to be played out, there’s no doubt this MINI ALL4 Racing crew will be giving it their all to reduce this time.
Rallye du Maroc is also proving to be a tough event. Mixed fortunes are apparent. At the end of play on Day 2, the final crew of Nazareno Lopez (ARG) and Sergio Lafuente of Uruguay in their debut race in a MINI ALL4 Racing is placed 29th on the time sheets.
Rallye du Maroc 2015 completes on Friday 9th October.