Merzouga Rally – Stage Three

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Merzouga Rally – Stage Three

Frans Verhoeven has won stage three of the Merzouga Rally in Morocco but it’s Brit Sam Sunderland that controls the race lead After an early start competitors tackled the third

Merzouga Rally  - Stage Three

Frans Verhoeven has won stage three of the Merzouga Rally in Morocco but it’s Brit Sam Sunderland that controls the race lead

After an early start competitors tackled the third and longest stage of the rally – 327 km of dunes and technical tracks that tested both riders and machines. In the first part they rode with CAP Erg Ouzina, passing through the mythical Erg Chebbi and the Erg Snagui. In the second part of the stage, the terrain changed completely offering riders a technical rocky trails.

At the end of the day it was Yamaha’s Frans Verhoeven that claimed the stage win.

“I was a bit disappointed with stage 1 because I finished eighth and could have done better but I couldn’t find the rhythm,” admitted Verhoeven. “I spent a lot of time to prepare the road book for stage three and it paid off because I didn’t get lost, while many guys did. The last part in the dunes was demanding as there was less visibility but in the end I knew I won the stage with a good gap.”

Finishing just under four minutes behind Verhoeven, Team HRC’s Sam Sunderland was second on the stage. The result moves him into the overall lead of the rally.

sam-sunderland MRSS2

“Another day full of adventure and difficult navigation,” told Sunderland, the ne rally leader. “I was doing really well in the dunes – pushing hard and gaining time – but then there was a recalibration in the road book that didn’t match with my road book. I made a mistake and I lost time. Despite that, I was able to pass some guys and open the last part of the stage. Overall I’m really happy. It was another day with the new bike. We are heading in the right direction for Dakar”

Gas Gas riders Gerard Farres and Jordi Viladoms placed third and fourth respectively with Yamaha mounted Olivier Pain completing the top five.

Stage four is the start of the marathon stage and after 206km they will reach the tented camp “La belle Etoile” near Merzouga. Assistance will not be allowed to work on the bike.

Brit Oliver Lloyd ended stage three in 17th. Ireland’s Gordon Clarke just missed out on a top twenty result by less than two minutes and finished 22nd.

Day 3 Provisional Classification Bike

1 VERHOEVEN FRANS 3:55:36 


2 SUNDERLAND SAM 3:59:00 


3 FARRES GUELL Gerard 4:03:42 


4 VILADOMS Jordi 4:03:42 


5 PAIN OLIVIER 4:06:04 


6 KNUIMAN HENK 4:10:32 


7 RODRIGUES Helder 4:11:22 


8 GIMENO Antonio 4:11:45 


9 BRUCY Arnold 4:20:37 


10 MANCINI ANDREA 4:23:25 


11 BIANCHI PRATA Pedro 4:27:17 


12 GUASCH MARC 4:32:21 


13 ZACCHETTI Cesare 4:33:24 


14 BUSQUETS ALEX 4:34:26 


15 CARDONA Nicolas 4:38:29 


16 UDRY Damien 5:01:42 


17 LLOYD OLIVER 5:11:01 


18 GANDINI Marco 5:14:11 


19 CHARLIAT Francois 5:14:16 


20 PELLONI Stefano 5:15:16

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