The 19th edition of the Maroc Challenge amply met expectations among the 150 plus teams participating, and the event, difficult, tough and very demanding right from the start, turned into quite an adventure. The route, mostly new, repeatedly alternated driving conditions in order that participants could enjoy driving through the full diversity of the Moroccan desert.
In addition to facing the standard difficulties of the Spring 2023, they had to fight against the elements, the fatigue accumulated over six long stages, an itinerary as interesting as it was demanding and, finally, the sheer variety of weather conditions. An all-round challenge.
The toughness and length of the stages was apparent right from the first day, which, far from being a mere appetiser, took us all the 295 kilometres to Matarka. A combination of fast tracks with stony and sandy areas was a true reflection of what was still to come. One of the highlights of the first day was that the start took place on the Ras el Ma beach and participants covered the first 5 kilometre stretch on wet sand, with the tide rising all the time.
A VERY DEMANDING ROUTE
The now traditional camp was set up this time in Matarka, in the middle of the Rekkam Plateau. Moving it to the end of the first stage allowed participants to enjoy a great evening of camaraderie. It was in Erfoud and its surroundings that sand hopping really began for all categories, crossing Erg Chebbi dunes in the third stage, following an itinerary tailored to each of them. We finally reached Zagora at a frantic pace. In the fourth stage, with no time to rest, we followed a loop taking in the magnificent Erg Chegaga and majestic Lake Iriki.
Back in Erfoud neither the pace nor the difficulties fell off, fatigue accumulating in both participants and machines. At this stage everything remained quite open and tension increased as the kilometres went by and the finish line loomed.
The last stage was held on Friday, April 7, with a 60 km. route linking Erfoud with Merzouga. The novelty in this final stretch was the changing of the usual reference track for a series of waypoints that had to be passed through in sequence in order not to be penalised, a task in which the participants also showed great skill.
Erg Chebbi, one the most emblematic places in the whole Moroccan desert, was the spot chosen to end the rally. There, right next to the enormous dunes, the prize ceremony took place, thus concluding a brilliant, spectacular edition that kept participants on their toes from beginning to end.
Finally, it should be noted that the winners of the ten different categories were the following teams: Fabelan Motorsport (Raid), HDJ-Vision (Adventure TT3), Racingfest 3 (Adventure TT2), Team Albero (Adventure TT1), Vespaziko Team (Adventure SUV ), Manolito (Adventure Rookie), Milillos Competición & Aventura (Adventure C4), Brotom (Adventure C3), Frosker (Adventure C2) and Stunning (Adventure C1).