- Gerard Farrés, after achieving a stage victory, keeps his successful streak going as he finishes the rally in second position after a hard fight with Xavier De Soultrait.
- With all the HIMOINSA Team riders across the finish line, Iván Cervantes finished in an excellent 8th position and Dani Oliveras was 13th after the hell of Erfoud.
Spectacular is the word that best defines Merzouga Rally´s last stage: the “Grand Prix des dunes” is a show in the form of a crazy circuit through sand dunes, topped off with a mass start which gave goosebumps to every spectator in attendance. To arrive there, six intense stages in which the HIMOINSA Team has shined once again with Gerard Farrés, Iván Cervantes and Dani Oliveras fighting every day against the sand labyrinth which was prepared for this round of the Dakar Series.
The race started six days ago, with a very busy first day: prologue, practice and first stage all in the same day. With a conservative mindset, the three riders placed themselves within the top ten overall, an unbeatable start to the rally which held up on day two, with Farrés strongly positioned in second place overall.
The strategy changed on the third stage, where Gerard made an attack and got his first stage win, cementing his second position in the overall standings, four minutes behind french De Soultrait. A great day as well for Oliveras, who crossed the finish line in fifth position. The day finished with an impressive sandstorm which hampered the assistance’s bike maintenance jobs.
The following day, the riders would tackle the Rally’s main course: the marathon stage, which would prove crucial towards the unfolding of the race. Two days separated by a remote bivouac with no assistance in the middle of the desert. Undoubtedly, the strategy was to avoid any mistakes and to take care of the bikes mechanically to get through the almost 500km unharmed. Uneven luck for the HIMOINSA Team riders, with Gerard Farrés suffering from gearbox issues and Dani Oliveras who ended up paying up a handful of minutes due to a costly navigation mistake. Once more, meteorological conditions were nothing short of extreme, and the wind in the desert provided for a rough night in all the rider’s tents in the improvised bivouac.
The final day, a true party, gave no opportunities to improve on their respective positions in the barely 50km of itinerary. A Rally very much to the liking of the HIMOINSA Team riders, with varied stages, complicated navigation, and of course, the ruthless sand dunes which have made their appearance every day of the race. A great performance by the team, with all its riders across the finish line and a great job done in the season kickoff.
Gerard Farrés (@gerardfarres): “The win has escaped us one more year, but I am very happy with the work we have done. Finishing second in a race this tough is great news, and it keeps us near the top after Dakar’s third place. Strategy was very important, keeping rivals under control at all times and studying our options day by day. We decided to attack in the third stage and ended up getting the stage win. The marathon stage was the key to this edition, and we were fighting very hard with De Soultrait and Caimi, but an issue with the gearbox made me lose a few precious minutes which I was unable to make up in the final day. I am very happy with the whole team’s effort and I think we are on the right track towards this oncoming season.”
Iván Cervantes (@IvanCervantes25): “It has been a fantastic race. We have worked hard on the sand and I am especially happy with my navigation. It is true that I have made some mistakes which have cost me some minutes and that has dragged me down in the standings, but we have surely made another step forward, I felt very comfortable with the navigation and the results got better day by day, finishing in eight place overall. We have been able to test a lot of settings on the bikes and the team has worked like clockwork. I am content wit the last day’s third place, fighting hand in hand with all the riders, it was really fun!”
Dani Oliveras (@danioliveras_21): “The previous weeks of training we had before starting Merzouga were one of the keys to achieving this result as a team. We had good speed on the bike and that has showed from the first stage. There were lots of navigation traps which we have gotten through well but which have been very demanding and have forced us to keep our focus. The third stage went perfect and without mistakes in the navigation, which took me to a fifth place stage finish, which gave me a lot of confidence. On the negative side, a mistake in a Way Point on stage 4 cost me almost 50 minutes and proved that you must stay focused at all costs during a race like this. The KTM has worked flawlessly and we have very good sensations, we have done a good job.”
MERZOUGA RALLY 2017 OVERALL CLASSIFICATION
1º Xavier De Soultrait 14:54:36
2º Gerard Farrés +13:07
3º Franco Caimi + 22:31
8º Iván Cervantes +01:30:01
13º Dani Oliveras +02:12:13
High resolution images of the race: https://www.flickr.com/photos/himoinsateam/albums/72157683659740136
HIMOINSA RACING TEAM
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Multinational company specialized in manufacturing and commercialization of energy generation systems. HIMOINSA has nine productive centers in Spain, USA, Brazil, Argentina, France, India and China, and eleven commercial subsidiaries in Argentina, Panama, Dominican Republic, Portugal, Angola, United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Singapore, Dubai and South Africa. With more than 1.000 employees, the company has supplied electricity-generating devices and lighting towers to important international projects across all five continents.
Yanmar is a Japan-headquartered manufacturer with a sales and service network operating in over 130 countries.
A pioneer in the production of diesel engines, Yanmar also manufactures agricultural and construction machinery, energy systems, marine products and components. With a global turnover of 655 billion yen in fiscal 2014, the organization employs over 17,000 people worldwide