Tuesday, March 5, 2024

2023 Rallye du Maroc: Jacquemain wins Rally3 for ART, Kurtaj scores championship

Cheikh Yves Jacquemain is a seven-time champion of the Senegal Cross-Country Championship who has dreamed of racing the Dakar Rally, and was poised to take part in the 2008 edition before it was cancelled. While the race no longer runs through his home country of Senegal, he was more than eager to showcase himself on the global stage when the World Rally-Raid Championship arrived in Morocco for the Rallye du Maroc.

Competing for the Africa Rallye Team, a programme run by Rallye du Maroc organiser ODC Event to promote domestic rally competitors, Jacquemain did not take long to impress as he won the Rally3 category in his W2RC début by nearly an hour on the field. Fellow ART rider Souleymane Addahri joined him on the overall podium in third.

Jacquemain captured the momentum first by winning the Prologue and Stage #1, and never relinquished the overall lead for the rest of the race. Addahri and Richárd Hodola scored a stage win each, but Jacquemain finished on the podium in all five legs while his margins of victory were significantly greater than theirs. Hodola also completed the podium lockout, but his runner-up to Jacquemain in the first stage was by over eighteen minutes while his Stage #4 win over Jacquemain came by just thirty-three seconds. Addahri’s Stage #2 victory was also by less than a minute on his ART team-mate.

Although not a win, the silver medal is still a strong finish for Hodola after placing sixth in the 2022 edition. He was the lone Rally3 competitor from 2022 to return to the class as those like winner Amine Echiguer and second-placed Guillaume Borne moved up to Rally2.

Ardit Kurtaj was the only other rider with a stage podium when he finished second to Jacquemain in Stage #3, though he was over an hour behind Addahri in the overall. He woke up with an upset stomach for the fourth day, forcing him to ride more conservatively and finishing fourth.

The W2RC Rally3 title turned out to be a wonderful substitute for Pepto-Bismol as Kurtaj clinched the title over Alexander Chepurkó and Massimo Camurri. Kurtaj and Chepurkó entered all three Rally3 rounds in 2023, with the former finishing second to Camurri at the Sonora Rally and winning the Desafío Ruta 40. Both races only featured three entrants compared to the thirteen at Morocco.

Chepurkó placed fifth overall and over two hours back of Kurtaj. After skipping Argentina, Camurri’s title hopes were dashed by a crash in Stage #2; he trailed Kurtaj by twenty entering Morocco. Even though he ran just one race, Jacquemain’s win ranked him joint third in the championship with Camurri.

Rally3 overall results

Finish Number Rider Team Time Margin
1 164 Cheikh Yves Jacquemain Africa Rallye Team 23:41:39 Leader
2 154 Richárd Hodola Richárd Hodola 24:31:45 + 50:06
3 165 Souleymane Addahri Africa Rallye Team 24:41:59 + 1:00:20
4 150 Ardit Kurtaj Xraids Experience 25:43:32 + 2:01:53
5 153 Alexander Chepurkó Moto Technik Team Silk Rider 28:18:26 + 4:36:47
6 155 Timothée Vacherand Team S-PassMoto 31:23:19 + 7:41:40
7 157 Hugues Deliège Team S-PassMoto 31:35:09 + 7:53:30
8 156 Mathilde Delsaux Team S-PassMoto 31:35:35 + 7:53:56
9 162 Romain Monnot Romain Monnot 35:26:23 + 11:44:44
DNF 151 Massimo Camurri McDonald’s Rally Team DNF N/A
DNF 158 Alexis Van de Woestyne Team S-PassMoto DNF N/A
DNF 161 Jean-Luc Taormina Taormina DNF N/A
DNF 163 Mamadou Boucoum Africa Rallye Team DNF N/A

Rally3 stage winners

Stage Rider Time
Prologue Cheikh Yves Jacquemain 1:06:10.5 (13:14.5)
Stage #1 Cheikh Yves Jacquemain 4:58:31
Stage #2 Souleymane Addahri 4:42:48
Stage #3 Cheikh Yves Jacquemain 4:20:23
Stage #4 Richárd Hodola 5:34:09
Stage #5 Souleymane Addahri 2:44:51

Overall winners

Class Number Competitor Team Time
T1 201 Yazeed Al-Rajhi Toyota Gazoo Racing 14:49:09
T2 251 Ronald Basso* Team Land Cruiser Toyota Auto Body 22:14:17
T3 315 Marek Goczał EnergyLandia Rally Team 16:22:12
T4 403 João Ferreira South Racing Can-Am 18:26:24
T5 506 Michiel Becx* Team de Rooy 21:32:34
RallyGP 8 Toby Price Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 15:56:43
Rally2 32 Bradley Cox BAS World KTM Racing Team 17:06:37
Rally3 164 Cheikh Yves Jacquemain Africa Rallye Team 23:42:39
Quad 186 Alexandre Giroud* Drag’on Rally Team 21:07:24
Open Auto 601 Jérôme Cambier* MD Rallye Sport 21:21:46
Open SSV 653 Tomas Mickus* BRO Racing 21:42:23
Road to Dakar Bike 71 Toby Hederics* BAS World KTM Racing Team 19:11:16
Road to Dakar SSV 420 William Grarre* Team Horizon Off-Road 21:50:39
* – Not competing in World Rally-Raid Championship

W2RC Rally3 standings

Rank Rider Points Margin
1 Ardit Kurtaj 58 Leader
2 Alexander Chepurkó 27 – 31
T-3 Massimo Camurri 25 – 33
T-3 Cheikh Yves Jacquemain 25 – 33
T-5 Mauricio Cueva 20 – 38
T-5 Richárd Hodola 20 – 38
T-7 Leo Dari 16 – 42
T-7 Souleymane Addahri 16 – 42
9 Timothée Vacherand 10 – 48
10 Hugues Deliège 9 – 49