After an impressive start that has seen the Ténéré World Raid Team on the podium during the first two stages, Tuesday's 416 km special from Assa to Foum Zguid was no easy task for the riders. Starting directly from the bivouac, extreme heat, and the fact it was the longest stage of the rally meant it would be easy to make a mistake that could spell disaster.
Added to this was the fast nature of the route and its rocky nature, which along with the barren landscape, made navigation challenging and showcased precisely why the Morocco Desert Challenge (MDC) is known as an extreme Rally Raid event.
Tarrés, competing in only his second season in Rally Raid, showed why he is fast becoming a star in the sport. Starting from fourth, he caught Faggotter by the 17km mark and the duo once again, in a great show of teamwork, decided to ride together to minimise the risk. The Andorran flew through the stony valleys on his GYTR-kitted Ténéré 700 World Raid alongside his more experienced teammate to secure his second stage podium of the rally, and third in his career, with a time of five hours, 11 minutes and five seconds, only 16 minutes and 55 seconds behind the stage winner.
After securing back-to-back podiums in the opening two stages, Faggotter once again produced another strong ride, with the 47-year-old taking part in his first competitive rally since Dakar 2020 as a replacement rider for Alessandro Botturi. Starting ahead of Tarrés, the Australian attacked the special in his usual style, taking turns with his teammate to lead the way, a tactic that makes navigation easier and allows the riders to maintain focus and avoid fatigue.
He ended the stage in fourth, just 53 seconds behind Tarrés, with a time of five hours, 11 minutes and 48 seconds. The three-time Dakar finisher is now third in the general classification and leading the Big Bike category (600cc and above), with a combined time of 10 hours, 26 minutes, and 29 seconds. Tarrés is just one minute and 27 seconds behind his teammate in fourth overall to ensure the Ténéré World Raid Team remain 1-2 in class.
Wednesday’s 281km fourth stage is the first loop special of the 2023 MDC, with riders starting and finishing at the bivouac in Foum Zguid, and it consists of rocky valleys and fast, twisting rocky trails, plus it will see the competitors take on the dunes for the first time in Erg Chegaga as the rally kicks up another gear.