Oct 02, 2016
British rally driver Harry Hunt will return to the Dakar next year, where he achieved a top-10 placing on his debut, in the 2016 winning car: the Peugeot 2008 DKR. Before then, he will be making his debut in the Peugeot, run by French team PH Sport, at the Rallye Oilibya du Maroc, from 1–7 October. The 28-year-old will be co-driven once more by the experienced Andy Schulz, a former Dakar winner.
The Rallye Oilibya du Maroc will be Harry’s last competitive outing before the famed Dakar Rally and his first time back in a rally car since the epic Silk Way Rally back in July, where he finished fourth.
Morocco has traditionally been used as a warm-up for the Dakar Rally, contested by a number of the leading runners. In another first for Harry, he has last year’s experience to fall back on for the first time, as every Cross Country event he has ever driven has been totally new to him up to now. He contested the Rallye du Maroc in 2015 though, ending up seventh.
The rally is characterised by quite similar terrain to Dakar – with sand dunes as well as fast tracks – making it the perfect preparation ground for the South American marathon. There is a superspecial on the first night followed by five stages totalling more than 1885 kilometres from Agadir to Erfoud, over five days.
The proper first stage covers 240 kilometres along the coastline, before stage two: a total of 554 kilometres, named ‘From ocean to dunes.’ This stage in particular will take in landscapes very similar to that of the Dakar Rally. Stage three is a total of 390 kilometres and is named ‘Oriental route’: this is then followed by stage four, the 376-kilometre ‘Erfoud loop’ with the final stage (named the ‘ERG Chebbi final’) covering 275 kilometres.
Described as ‘the greatest rally in Africa’, Harry and Andy will be up against over 300 competitors in Morocco, on their debut in the 2008 DKR. This race will be the only competitive opportunity they have to get used the Peugeot.
Harry said: “I’m really looking forward to racing again and getting to grips with the Peugeot for the first time. I’ve got a big challenge ahead of me, so my only objective is to reach the finish and try to learn the car a bit. It’s actually only the first time that I’m repeating an event I’ve done before, so it will help me a little bit to know what’s coming. I’m also delighted that Andy will be joining me once more on this latest adventure. His experience is going to be absolutely vital, particularly as we’ve both got a lot of learning to do over the next few weeks.”
A full Rallye du Maroc preview will be issued on Friday 30 September, before the rally gets underway.
Following the Rallye Oilibya du Maroc, Harry will complete a few days testing with Peugeot before the Dakar Rally, which starts on 2 January 2017.
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