DISCOVER “THE NEW DAKAR GENERATION”
(don’t hesitate to use it as an asset to convince new sponsors !)
For the 2018 season, the Dakar Series will see the bike, quad and SxS competitors head to Morocco for the 8th running of the Merzouga Rally from 15th to 20th April 2018. This will be an ideal opportunity for the European competitors to prepare for the Dakar and it should become an event for detecting and rally-raid training the “new Dakar generation”.
Flavours of Africa…
Following the last Dakar finish in the Senegalese capital, the Dakar Series label, which was created in 2008, has been to Europe, Asia and South America, associated with rally-raids featuring the crème de la crème of the sport. Next spring, it will head to the African Continent for the Merzouga Rally, which has been held since 2010 in Morocco’s Erfoud region. The nearly one-week long rally-raid, running in the Atlas Mountains and the north of the Sahara desert will allow the more seasoned competitors to remember the many Moroccan stages of past Dakars, with for example the arrivals at Er-Rachidia, Ouarzazate and Goulmine; and for the newcomers it will be the chance to discover the famous Merzouga dunes in a tough competition setting.
The new pre-season rendezvous
Turned into a major pre-Dakar test over the years, the Merzouga Rally will take on a new dimension in 2017 with a date change that will put it in the spotlight. New team compositions, technical changes made to the motorcycles and new equipment will be tested in Morocco. The rally’s record book is chalk-full of the leading Dakar contenders. The Merzouga Rally (121 vehicles registered in 2016, 144 in 2017) has become both an opportunity for revenge and the precursor of the confrontations that could take place in January. Especially since the Dakar Challenge will reward both the winner of the event, its most promising talent and the fastest SxS crew.
Edo Mossi in charge
The Merzouga Rally was created and developed by long-time Africa and Dakar enthusiast Edoardo Mossi, who participated in the rally in both the motorcycle and car categories on both sides of the Atlantic. Committed to the convivial aspect of the rally he organizes (about 100 vehicles expected to start in May 2016), the Italian competitor also likes to experiment with ambitious new race formats. In addition, all the “finishers” of the Merzouga Rally will be assured of being able to enter the Dakar.
Past motorcycle winners of the Merzouga Rally
2017: Xavier De Soultrait (Fra)
2016: Kevin Benavides (Arg)
2015: Alessandro Botturi (Ita)
2014: Pal-Anders Ullevalseter (Nor)
2013: Sam Sunderland (Gbr)
2012: Jacek Czachor (Rtc)
2011: Jakub Przygonski (Pol)
2010: Helder Rodrigues (Por)
Edo Mossi, creator of the Merzouga Rally: “What is happening at this time concerning the Merzouga Rally is very emotional for me. It is a great honour and a source of motivation to work with A.S.O. The adventure began in 2010, and I never imagined that the Merzouga could become a stepping stone towards the Dakar for the riders! I also know that this rally will retain what is most important: its friendly atmosphere which is the key to its success.”