WhatMorocco Desert Challenge Day 1 Report
WhereAbbeth, Morocco
WhenSaturday 13 April 2019

But de Klerk’s MDC pace good for fifth

All-South African crew, Hennie de Klerk and Johann Smalberger powered their SA-built TresuryOne Motorsport Amarok to a fine fifth overall among 75 cars and trucks on the first day of the gruelling Morocco Desert Challenge from Agidir to Abetteh on Saturday. 

Pretoria driver de Klerk, who was the top rookie at Dakar 2018, started their 218km run with a blast along the Atlantic coast Plage Blanche beach, before settling in to a comfortable rhythm for a better than expected result. “Today went beyond our best expectations” Hennie admitted. “We set out to pace ourselves through the prologue and we had vague dreams of maybe a top-twenty finish and ended up fifth! 

"The prologue was the perfect introduction to the MDC with a mix of beach, a few dunes, some WRC roads, gravel and sandy tracks, so we are confident that we are now ready for the rest of the route — that was a perfect start for us!” Sunday’s 402km second stage from Abetteh to Smara is the first real day of the Morocco Desert Challenge that takes in a brand new run deep into the Sahara Desert along a forgotten 1980s Dakar track. 

“We have now oiled the machine and tomorrow is more of the same,” de Klerk concluded. “Now we need to just keep it steady and stay out of trouble — that plan has worked very well for us before, so we must just keep on doing what we do best — see you in Smara Sunday evening!"


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