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Cross Country – World-class field for Moroccan showdown

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Double FIA Formula One World Champion and reigning FIA World Endurance Champion Fernando Alonso joins a star-studded entry on the final round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies as the title fight goes down to the wire in Morocco.

World Champions in cross country, rallying, circuit racing and motorcycling adorn the entry list for the final round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies, the Rallye du Maroc (3-9 October). The only round on the African continent will not only host a thrilling fight for the World Cup title, but traditionally serves as one of the final long distance shakedowns for the Dakar Rally. As such, some of the biggest names - with history across a variety of motor sport disciplines - are set to deliver world-class action on the 20th anniversary event that takes in a mix of technical, fast and sandy tracks and dunes on the fringes of the Sahara Desert.

The list of accolades across the leading crews in the 46-car field is unparalleled and extraordinary. The fight for the title will be fought out - essentially - between Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel and the husband and wife team of Stéphane and Andrea Peterhansel. Al-Attiyah, who has enjoyed most of his motor sport successes with current co-driver Baumel, is a four-time winner of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies with three different manufacturers, has claimed the Dakar win on three occasions and taken victory on the Rallye du Maroc for the last five years. With a nine-point advantage in the standings, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s Al-Attiyah and Baumel will lead the crews over the start ramp, bidding for not only the title but also a sixth straight win.

Legendary cross country rider and driver, Stéphane Peterhansel, has won the Dakar Rally 13 times on bikes and in cars, and the Frenchman is back in action after he and Andrea made history by taking their first FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies win as a husband and wife team in Abu Dhabi earlier this year. The MINI crew, second in the standings, also finished runners-up on the third round Rally Kazakhstan and Stéphane already has three previous four-wheel wins on the Rallye du Maroc to his name.

Multiple winner of Middle East Rally Championship events, Yazeed Al Rajhi, holds fourth in the cross country rally standings and will be making his fourth outing of the season with a new co-driver in Britain’s Michael Orr. The Saudi Arabian driver netted a second place in the series’ opening round in Qatar and will be piloting one of four Overdrive Racing Toyotas ahead of welcoming many of his fellow contenders to his home country, host to the 2020 Dakar Rally. Erik Van Loon, Viktor Khoroshavtsev and Ronan Chabot - who finished fifth last year - complete the team’s line-up.
Reigning champion of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies is Jakub Przygoński and while the Pole has only claimed one podium position in the series this year, in Kazakhstan, he finished second overall in Morocco last year. He will also be heading to Portugal later in the month as he and co-driver Timo Gottschalk are embroiled in a close battle for the inaugural FIA World Cup for Cross Country Bajas title.

Bernhard Ten Brinke, co-driven by Tom Colsoul, is another former Rallye du Maroc winner and the Dutch/Belgian pairing will be piloting the second of four Hilux entered by TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. Martin Prokop, a former FIA Junior World Rally Champion, returns for the final round with Jan Tománek in their trusty Ford Raptor RS Cross Country. The Czech driver has reaped richer rewards in the separate Baja series this year, but can never be discounted from a top placing after finishing fourth in Morocco last year.

Carlos Sainz, double FIA World Rally Champion, two-time winner of the Dakar Rally and a former winner of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies, makes his debut in the series this season with navigator Lucas Cruz. The Spaniards will be piloting a MINI John Cooper Works Buggy and will be hoping for better luck in Morocco after suffering a technical problem last year.

Giniel de Villiers, co-driven by Spaniard Alex Haro, is another Dakar winner and seven-time podium finisher to adorn the entry list. The South African has claimed three victories on Rallye du Maroc in 2003, 2006 and 2007, so is another well in the frame for a top result.

Joan ‘Nani’ Roma, co-driven by Dani Oliveras, is set for his first FIA World Cup cross country rally of the season after finishing second overall in his home Baja Aragón in July. Roma is very familiar with the top step of the podium having claimed two Dakar wins, one on a bike and the other in a MINI.

Fernando Alonso, widely regarded as one of Formula One’s greatest drivers, now swaps the familiarity of the circuits for the uncertainty of the desert. Continuing a remarkable motor sport career, which includes two FIA Formula One World Championship titles, the current FIA World Endurance Championship title and two Le Mans winning trophies, the Spaniard is now eyeing cross country rallying as his next challenge. Stepping into one of motor sports most diverse and challenging disciplines, the Spaniard is undergoing an intensive training programme across Europe, Africa and the Middle East with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, his World Endurance Championship winning team. He could also not be in safer hands than with navigator Marc Coma, who has won the Dakar five times on a motorbike and holds an impressive six titles in the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship.

Across the board, the field of T1 crews is impressive but eyes will also be on the battle for category honours. Reinaldo Varela holds a fine third in the overall series standings but more importantly heads into the final and decisive round leading T3. The Brazilian, navigated by Gustavo Gugelmin, has taken two of the three category wins this season to lead Fedor Vorobyev by 23 points, the Russian having to take maximum points in Morocco to have any chance of winning the title. In this 16-vehicle category, competition will be fierce and America’s Casey Currie will doubtless be looking to add a second victory to his tally. Just two crews have entered in T2 and Qatar’s Mohammed Al Meer will be looking to add maximum points to his tally for the third time this season, having secured the title after winning in Kazakhstan.


Total distance   

2,435.47 km

Selective section distance:

1,655.43 km

Number of selective sections:




Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel

Toyota Hilux

Stéphane Peterhansel/Andrea Peterhansel

MINI John Cooper Works Buggy

Yazeed Al Rajhi/Michael Orr

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

Jakub Przygoński/Timo Gottschalk

MINI John Cooper Works Rally

Bernhard Ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul

Toyota Hilux

Martin Prokop/Jan Tománek

Ford Raptor RS Cross Country

Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz

MINI John Cooper Works Buggy

Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro

Toyota Hilux

Erik van Loon/Sébastien Delaunay

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

Joan ‘Nani’ Roma/Dani Oliveras

Borgward BX7 DKR Evo

Yasir Seaidan/Paulo Fiuza

MINI All4 Racing

Viktor Khoroshavtsev/Anton Nikolaev

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

Boris Garafulic/Filipe Palmeiro

MINI John Cooper Works Rally

Fernando Alonso/Marc Coma

Toyota Hilux Overdrive



Thursday 3 October



From 10:00 hrs

Pre-event Press Conference

18:00 hrs


Friday 4 October



From 08:00 hrs

Start ceremony, Fes Stadium

15:00 hrs


Saturday 5 October – Leg 1 (Fes-Erfoud)


Start of SS1 (329.16 kilometres)

09:25 hrs

First car arrives bivouac

15:02 hrs approx.


Sunday 6 October – Leg 2 (Erfoud-Erfoud)


Start of SS2 (386.29 kilometres)

10:08 hrs

First car arrives bivouac

14:42 hrs approx.


Monday 7 October – Leg 3 (Erfoud-Erfoud)


Start of SS3 (362.98 kilometres)

08:55 hrs

First car arrives bivouac

15:51 hrs approx.


Tuesday 8 October – Leg 4 (Erfoud-Erfoud)


Start of SS4 (408.53 kilometres)

10:18 hrs

First car arrives bivouac

15:13 hrs approx.


Wednesday 9 October  – Leg 5 (Erfoud-Fes)


Start of SS5 (168.47 kilometres)

10:40 hrs

First car arrives at the finish

From 14:05 hrs approx..


21:00 hrs