Rallye Maroc Classic – La Route du Coeur
Back on the 26th edition

Saturday, March 16, 2019, it is under a radiant sun, that took place the day of the checks in the enclosure of the most beautiful palace of the world, La Mamounia in Marrakech, chooses as place of departure and arrival of this 26th edition of the Rally Morocco Classic – The Route of the Heart.

This unprecedented departure for the 28 participating crews made it possible to leave the “red city” in the direction of the foothills of the Atlas, snow-covered in the distance, for a first test of regularity in the Agafay desert, before the lunch break organized in this area. desert dominated by the giants of the Atlas. The continuation of the course was a winding and fast playground, before a second test of regularity presenting several changes of directions and which would disorient some competitors. The Porsche 911 of the winners 2018 will unfortunately not go further and the crew MEZIANE & CHEMAO will have to give up, with great regret. The Atlantic Ocean, the end of this first stage, was outlined in the distance, while the machines, drivers and copilots were now “in leg” to face the rest of the Rally. The husband and wife MARIS, driving their Aston Martin DB6 flying, took the lead in the overall standings with a second and a third place in special.

The second stage, looping around Agadir, completely new, gave pride of place to the “valley of paradise” whose road winds through the meanders of a wadi nestled in the middle of arid mountains, sometimes with dizzying cliffs , with three regularity tests not far from the Immouzzer waterfalls. The lunch in Taghazout, feet in the sand, offered for him the possibility of going to tutoyer the waves of the Ocean. The inexhaustible rallying resources of the region made it possible to organize another special stage in the afternoon when the only female crew of the rally, BENAMOUR & HIRIART, offered us a superb spin at the wheel of their Morgan, before returning to Agadir for a deserved rest. The RAYNAL & FIGARET crew will win two special stages and take control of the event, while the GHISTELINCK & DAVID crew returned to third place with two regularity test victories.

For the third stage, the longest of the rally, it is the route of a stage that has already spiced the rally in the past was chosen to launch competitors to Tafraoute and its huge round rocks. The Ferrari of the crew VERZELE & YEKNABACHI will then be victim of a problem of radiator and will have to leave the competition at mid-day on the site of the “painted rocks”. The crew ROCHE & RENAUDAT, with an adjusted tripmaster, won the eighth special at the wheel of their Alpine A110 and could be delighted with their success. An amazing journey of more than 200km waited then the participants, towards the land inhabited countless pebbles and stones, acacia trees and palm groves, to join Foum Zguid and spend the night in the dunes, in a luxurious bivouac . AC Cobra of the LEVAUX spouses will win the two special stages played during the afternoon and remain ambushed in the overall standings. The evening was then festive for all the participants, around the campfire. In the “Prestige” category, the OUVIER spouses showed surprising regularity and continued their harvest of special victories.

The rally resumed the road quite early in the morning for the fourth stage leading to Ouarzazate. Three special stages, at Foum el Ouad, at the Bouazzer Mine and the ascent of the Tizi N Tinifift, were proposed for this half-step leading to lunch served “poolside” in Ouarzazate. The LEVIE & DEWOLF crew will win the twelfth special stage at the wheel of their BMW 1600. A relaxing afternoon in the heart of the city of cinema was then scheduled, always under a great weather, present from the start and who chose to accompany us throughout the event, with temperatures approaching 30 degrees. However, it was necessary to take the wheel again after dark, to the valley of the 1000 kasbahs of Ait Benhaddou and to go through an event disputed at night which will be won by GHISTELINCK & DAVID, not without having made a “fright” during a passage of wadi, before having dinner in a superb kasbah and then returning towards Ouarzazate in the evening. The positions in the overall standings will remain unchanged but the gaps will decrease, with two more steps to go. In the “Prestige”, despite the change of car and the heavy penalty that followed, the crew VERZELE & YEKNABACHI won this night race and was delighted with this performance at the announcement of the results.

The fifth stage towards Taroudant was a “classic” to leave Ouarzazate, the “gate of the desert” towards the West towards Tazenakht, known for being the largest center for weaving Berber carpet in the Kingdom. It is in this region that the competitors have played consecutively two regularity tests with the ascent of Tizi N Bachkoum and its famous hairpins. In Taliouine was organized a lunch with panoramic view of the saffron valley with the possibility of acquiring a few grams of red gold (saffron being the most expensive spice in the world). The competitors then took part in the final special stage of the day before joining Taroudant, the little Marrakech, as they like to call the Moroccans, and which hosted a stage finish, a great first since the creation of the rally. The crew RAYNAL & FIGARET managed to widen the gap in races cut for their mount. Their Shelby Cobra is still in the lead.

The sixth and final stage was announced as the justice of the peace of that year 2019 with the ascent of the Tizi N ‘Test pass, known as one of the most impressive roads in Morocco and crossing the High Altas. Tofed by the Jbel Toubkal, the day began on a wide and winding road, without any real difficulty to lead to a special stage, all uphill. On this road becoming, over the kilometers, more and more narrow, tortuous and lined with impressive peaks, to cross the hill at 2100m altitude. The views were breathtaking when you crossed the “giant” and play two new regularity tests downhill. It was necessary to keep pace to defend his place in the overall standings before returning to Marrakech and the bet to ensure the results without taking any risk was the right choice for the crew RAYNAL & FIGARET who resisted all day the onslaught of GHISTELINCK & DAVID, who also had to defend themselves against the husband MARIS, well hooked to their third place. After the lunch break in Ouirgane, a final event was scheduled before La Mamounia welcomed the end of the rally and concluded this journey having started at the same place 6 days ago.

In the “Classic” category, the RAYNAL & FIGARET crew takes their Shelby Cobra to the top of the podium, having dominated the event and are finally rewarded after several participations overwhelmed by bad luck. GHISTELINCK & DAVID, Mercedes 280 SE, great fans of “regularity” will have tried everything to win a new victory and had to defend their 2nd place against the crew MARIS & MARIS (Aston Martin DB6 Volante) who then completed the final classification.

On the prestige side, the OUVIER & OUVIER couple won the rally for the second year in a row, preventing 17 special stage victories out of 21 possible at the wheel of a BMW Z4 3.5i, while the LUCCHITI & LUCCHITI crew rode the 2nd step of the podium, on their Mercedes AMG, without being equipped with navigation instruments. The TRIPER spouses (Porsche Boxter S) who discovered “regularity” also took 3rd place in the final special stage!

Classement général provisoire / Temporary Ranking Classic

Catégorie Classics
1- 1- A. RAYNAL / CH. FIGARET (Shelby Cobra 289 FIA)
2- C. GHISTELINCK / L. DAVID (Mercedes 280L SL)
3- E. MARIS / V. MARIS (Aston Martin DB6 Volante)
Catégorie Prestiges
1- B. OUVIER / N. OUVIER (BMW Z4 Cabriolet)
2- P. LUCCHITTI / I. LUCCHITTI (Mercedes AMG Coupé)
3- B. PAPE / C. PAPE (Porsche 997 Turbo)

Rally schedule

Saturday, March 16, 2019

« Free Day in the Red City » ● Welcome Dinner and Overnight at La Mamounia in MARRAKECH

STAGE 1: Sunday, March 17, 2019

MARRAKECH > Agafay Desert > AGADIR
« The Agafay desert and the foothills of the Atlas »
● Lunch at La Pause in the AGAFAY Desert
● Dinner and Night at the Villa Blanche in AGADIR

STAGE 2: Monday, March 18, 2019

AGADIR > Taghazout > AGADIR
« The Paradise Valley and the Atlantic Ocean »
● Lunch at Hyatt Places in TAGHAZOUT
● Dinner and Night at the Villa Blanche in AGADIR

STAGE 3: Tuesday, March 19, 2019

« The Anti-Atlas and the Moroccan Sahara »
● Lunch under Berber tents at the site of Les Rochers Bleus in TAFRAOUTE
● Dinner and Night in BIVOUAC around FOUM ZGUID

STAGE 4: Wednesday, March 20, 2019

« The road of 1000 kasbahs »
● Lunch poolside at the Berber Palace in OUARZAZATE
● Free afternoon in OUARZAZATE
● Dinner and Night at the Berbere Palace in Ouarzazate

STAGE 5: Thursday, March 21, 2019

« Discovering the Safran Valley »
● Lunch under Berber tents at TALIOUINE
● Dinner and overnight at Dar Zitoune in TAROUDANT

STAGE 6: Friday, March 22, 2019

TAROUDANT > Tizi N Test > MARRAKECH « Climbing on the roof of Morocco » ● Lunch under tents at the foot of the Tizi N Test in Tafingoult
● Award Dinner at MARRAKECH
● Night in La Mamounia at MARRAKECH