DW Maroc midway

It’s a desert dash on the dunes of Rallye du Maroc for World Rally-Raid Championship glory

October 16, 2023
With three stages down and still two to go at Rallye du Maroc there’s a real fight in the desert for World Rally-Raid Championship points. While some winners have already secured their titles there’s still plenty of prizes yet to be decided at this season finale ahead of the 2024 Dakar Rally. Let’s check in with the convoy of competitors in Morocco to see who is smiling in the sand dunes…
Nasser Al-Attiyah started today’s drive knowing he had already done enough to claim a second consecutive FIA W2RC T1 drivers’ title. However, the five-time Dakar winner and co-driver Mathieu Baumel still have ambitions to achieve in Morocco. The Toyota Gazoo Racing driver leads the rally by more than six minutes from Sébastien Loeb in second as he targets a seventh Rallye du Maroc victory of his stellar off-road career.

“We’re at the end of Stage 3 in Morocco and we have a good lead. I hope to have another good result tomorrow because we want to win this race” – Nasser Al-Attiyah
It has been mixed fortunes for Team Audi Sport as the race crews of Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz, Stéphane Peterhansel/Edouard Boulanger and Mattias Ekström/Emil Bergvist look to tune up ahead of the upcoming Dakar. Ekström drove his Audi RS Q E-Tron to a stage win today, while Sainz ran into mechanical trouble. Peterhansel remains in the fight for the overall podium as he sits fourth overall after three stages in Morocco.

“It was not the best day for us today. We had a puncture after 100km and some adjustments with the settings did not work for us. It’s all OK, we’re learning a lot every day. We’re getting more and more information and this will help us at the next Dakar.” – Stéphane Peterhansel
Guillaume de Mevius is currently sixth overall as he makes his T1 debut behind the wheel of a Toyota Hilux alongside co-driver François Cazalet.
The battle for W2RC supremacy between three Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA presented by BFGoodrich drivers in the T3 class looks like it’s going right down to the wire. Ahead of the last round of the championship just nine points separated Mitch Guthrie Jr., Austin ‘AJ’ Jones and Seth Quintero. After three stages in Morocco it’s now Quintero and co-driver Dennis Zenz who have moved into pole position for glory as their Can-Am currently leads the rally.

“The rally has been going really well for us. Now we’ve got about 600km of racing still to go so we’re going to keep fighting all the way.” – Seth Quintero
Female drivers Cristina Gutiérrez and Dania Akeel are both placed in the Top 10 overall of the T3 race with two stages still to race. Gutiérrez of the Red Bull Can-Am Factory Team is currently fourth overall while Akeel is placed eighth in her Wevers Sport prepared Taurus T3 Max.
“In general things are going well for us here in Morocco. We’ve had some issues with navigation and also some punctures. At this rally you need to be very careful not to have too many problems on the stage.” – Cristina Gutiérrez
Toby Price is giving everything he’s got to get the win in Morocco and become this year’s FIM W2RC champion. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider rose to the top of the overall Rallye du Maroc rankings thanks to second place on Stage 3. Now he has two more stages to get the better of his rival for W2RC glory, Luciano Benavides.

“It was a long stage, but the 330km went really quick. The average speed was really high today. It was really rocky but the bike stood up to everything. There were a couple of little navigation mistakes but nothing major. We’re just trying to stay in the fight and do our best.” – Toby Price

Price’s fellow Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Matthias Walkner exited the rally on Stage 3 due to a crash. Sam Sunderland of Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing withdrew from the rally following a brave effort to complete Stage 1 while hurt.
The final two stages of the 2023 Rallye du Maroc will take place on the iconic dunes of Merzouga. The chequered flag will finally fly on Wednesday, October 18 and the winners of this rally and the W2RC season will be known.

Rallye du Maroc: Top 3 after Stage 3


1. S. QUINTERO (USA) CAN-AM 10:16:29
3. A. JONES (USA) CAN-AM +9:11

1. T. PRICE (AUS) KTM 10:26:00
2. R. BRANCH (BWA) HERO +3:48