Al-Attiyah, Van Beveren and Dutrie win the 10th edition of the Afriquia Merzouga Rally

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After several days of looking up at dark clouds, with the odd shower filling the wadis with water, the sun finally returned.

It lit up Erg Chebbi in Merzouga this Friday morning for the start of the last special stage in this 10thedition of the Afriquia Merzouga Rally.

The mass start took place opposite majestic sand dunes in the presence of numerous spectators. "It reminds me of Enduro starts, I just love it", chuckled Adrien Van Beveren, crowned the winner one hour later after having won the last stage on his bike.

"We're going to let everyone go and then we'll attack", said Nasser Al-Attiyah, this year's Dakar winner and first in Side by Side in the Afriquia MerzougaRally. The driver from Qatar did his job before putting on a show for the spectators with the fastest time of the morning.

At the finish line, smiles were the order of the day for all those crossing it. "Given the difficulties of navigation and driving, just getting here is a real pleasure", said South Africa's Calheine Perry.

"Once you have tried rally-raid, you immediately want to get back in there", said Frenchman Antoine Lecomte.

After the medals ceremony in the company of one of the coaches of the rally, Giovanni Sala, the competitors reached the bivouac in the luxurious setting of the Hôtel Xaluca to enjoy the warmth of the local people and the satisfaction of having battled the tracks for a week.

 

WORDS FROM THE WINNERS

Adrien Van Beveren (FRA, 1st in motorbikes, Yamaha): "It feels really good to win! I have had some good performances in rallies in recent years but I haven't seen the fruits at the finish line. I am really happy for the whole team, my family and the many people who follow me. It's been a great rally, with ideal conditions and a particularly tough roadbook. The complexity of each stage means you have to be really focused and never drop your guard. I have rarely made so much progress in such a short time!"

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