With the penultimate stage of the Rallye Du Maroc serving up another day of racing across technical terrain and with tricky navigation, stage four once again tested the patience, endurance, and roadbook skills of all competitors.
The slower overall speeds and importance of efficient navigation played into the hands of Adrien Van Beveren today. Even with much of the terrain not featuring his favoured sand, the Frenchman enjoyed the technical stage and by maintaining his strong pace and relying on his proficient roadbook skills, opened the special from the halfway point. Going on to complete the stage as the eighth fastest rider, Van Beveren is now comfortably on course for an overall top-five finish.
Following on from yesterday’s breakout performance, Andrew Short was the third rider to enter the stage and was faced with opening the challenging stage from the start. With Adrien Van Beveren catching up to him, the American was then able to ride with his teammate for a short time before being forced to slow his pace in order to escape the heavy dust that caused issues for many riders. Completing the stage as the 12th fastest rider, Short now moves up to ninth in the overall provisional classification and with an advantageous starting position for the final stage tomorrow, he’s well-placed to advance even higher.
For Ross Branch, the 35-year-old was unfortunate to not reach the stage four finish line due to a rear wheel issue which forced his withdrawal from the special. The Botswana native will however compete in tomorrow’s stage five to clock up more hours on his Yamaha WR450F Rally ahead of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, which starts on November 6.
The final stage takes place tomorrow with 291 kilometres of racing against the clock through rolling sand dunes with the duo well placed to maintain or improve upon their current rankings.