The week-long event started on October 7 and continues on through October 13, and it serves as the last similar test of the teams who will enter the historic Dakar Rally. But make no mistake – as part of both the FIA Cross Country World Cup and the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship, it’s a coveted title.
Morocco has always been all about rally raid runs, and the story began in 1982 with the inception of Paris-Agadir, the first rally raid to run in Morocco. The next year, the rally took the name ‘Atlas Rally’ and became the flagship rally of the Rally Raids calendar. The Atlas Rally saw the best drivers and teams in the venerable endurance run.
After having changed ownership from Larivière to ASO, the Atlas Rally disappeared toward the end of the ’90s but was reborn in 2000 as ‘Rallye du Maroc’ under the leadership of Cyril Neveu and Jean Christophe Pelletier. The rally immediately became the major Moroccan rally and welcomed the elite of the rally-raid racing world again.
In 2007, the company NPO, organizer of the Rallye du Maroc, was sold to Emma and Stéphane Clair, and became an event in the FIM World Championship and the FIA World Cup. After 10 years at the head of the event, NPO sold the Rallye du Maroc to the company ODC, led by David Castera.
In 2007, the company NPO, organizer of the Rallye du Maroc, was sold to Emma and Stéphane Clair and at that point, it became an event in the FIM World Championship and the FIA World Cup. Following a 10 stretchy, NPO sold the Rallye du Maroc to the company ODC, led by David Castera. Castera became the Director of the Dakar in March 2019, and the organizers say the “Rally of Morocco will have strong synergies with the Dakar and will become the great pre-Dakar test.”
The Dakar Rally is set to take place in Saudi Arabia starting on January 2nd, 2022, and formidable teams such as Giniel de Villiers and partner and navigator Dennis Murphy, Henk Lategan and navigator Brett Cummings and Shameer Variawa with navigator Danie Stassen are on the grid.
Once again, Dakar will be held again entirely in the Saudi Arabian desert and that most famous desert endurance race begins in the northern city of Ha’il and proceeds south to the Empty Quarter. A rest day will be held in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on January 8th, before the race heads south-westward to the finish in the city of Jeddah on January 14th.
The Dakar Rally – formerly known as the “Paris–Dakar Rally” – is organized by the Amaury Sport Organisation, and most of the events since its inception in 1978 were staged from Paris, France, to Dakar, Senegal. But when security threats in Mauritania led to the cancellation of the 2008 rally, the events from 2009 to 2019 were held in South America. Since 2020, the race has taken place entirely within Saudi Arabia.
Open to amateur and professional entries, the field is typically made of approximately eighty percent amateur teams. The race route will cover nearly 1,666 miles of the Moroccan Sahara Desert. Teams of drivers and riders will run it from motorsport giants like Toyota Gazoo and Honda Racing, among many, many others.
This rally is actually set to be one of the major trials for Gazoo Racing’s reworked Hilux. The famous Toyota truck gets beefier running gear, per GR, and goes from 32 inch to 37 inch tires. More importantly, the Hilux is also getting the new 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 developed for the 300-Series Land Cruiser.
That engine already makes 409 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque in the road-going Land Cruiser, but it’s going to make much more than that in race trim at the Rally of Morocco. And as if the formidable new Hilux wasn’t enough, Toyota’s team boasts three consecutive FIA World Cup victories.