The 356 km Stage 2 at the 2023 Moroccan Desert Challenge (MDC) began with a 271 km liaison from Agadir to Plage Blanche. Once on the beach, the riders began the special with an MX-style start that saw them set off ten at a time and involved a 25 km sprint along the seafront before heading off into the dry lakes and rocky valleys the region is famous for, ending at the bivouac in Assa.
After their double podium in the Prologue, both riders got off to a great start, using the extra power of the Ténéré 700 World Raid to great effect in the flat-out first section. Australian Faggotter backed up his second place from the day before by taking the lead from the off. The 47-year-old was heading the rest of the field for the first 30 km before settling into a superb rhythm and riding alongside his teammate for the rest of the stage.
Faggotter, who had not raced competitively for three years before filling in for Alessandro Botturi at the MDC due to a schedule clash for the Italian rider, showed he is getting back into the groove, despite temperatures rising to above 35 degrees Celsius in the Moroccan sun. The three-time Dakar finisher ended the stage in four hours, 41 minutes, and 36 seconds. After such a long stage, he was just 13 minutes and seven seconds behind the winner, and this means Faggotter is third in the general classification with a time of five hours, 14 minutes, and 31 seconds.
His teammate Tarrés produced another superb performance after ending Sunday’s Prologue in third. The Andorran used all the extra horsepower of his twin-cylinder GYTR-kitted Ténéré 700 World Raid bike against his rivals on prototype 450cc machines at the start to hit the front with his teammate.
During such a fast stage, it is all too easy to exceed the 160km/h speed limit when at full gas, and unfortunately, the Andorran overcooked it for a split second and earned himself a 2-minute penalty.
Even with this, the 29-year-old ended the special in fourth, showing excellent levels of teamwork with Faggotter as they conquered the challenging terrain to finish the stage together. He ended the day with a time of four hours, 43 minutes, and 37 seconds, which means he is fourth in the overall standings with a time of five hours, 16 minutes and 51 seconds.
Up next for the Ténéré World Raid Team is the rally's longest special, the 416 km Stage 3. Starting at the bivouac in Assa and running along the Algerian border before finishing in Foum Zguid, the stage consists of a mix of fast tracks, chotts, fesh fesh and some dunes that should prove a navigational challenge for the riders.