With victory, but with tears and disappointment as well. Exactly this way ended 11th edition of the Morocco Desert Challenge. In the last eighth stage, the North-Bohemian truck with Gert Huzink was able to win, but the second special truck with Martin van den Brink was not successful, and the truck from Židovice finished just outside the podium in the overall standings. Little was needed, and the crew would end up silver.
“It was simply a bad day. We can't call it differently. The gaps were minimal. It all changed into a fierce fight for the podium. Nervousness of the pilots was high, because everyone was clear that any loss of concentration could mean a lot. And that's exactly how it was. The last stage was very difficult to navigate. Everybody, who was fighting for positions, lost some time, , it all came down to, how much time each crew have lost. Well, we just lost a little more. It is a disappointment because the machinery, except for a few details, has been doing great all the time, ” Daniel Kozlovsky, the on-board mechanic of the Mammoet Rallysport team, said with disappointed in the final leg. The crew started this leg on second position in overall standings.
The last stage was very fast and, above all, very short. Crews had to handle less than two hundred kilometres from Bouarfa to Oujda, but the promised navigational difficulty could be felt. In less than two hours, the Riwald Dakar, truck from Židovice with Gert Huzink, came for a clear victory. Leaders lost this time. Not only the leading man lost some time, but Martin van den Brink in the second place lost as well. He crossed the finish line seventh with a loss of thirteen minutes. Although the gap was not significant, it was big enough to sent them from second to fourth place in overall ranking. Van den Brink's crew just chose their bad luck at the least appropriate moment. "The main today was the navigation, but on top of it, we've got an overspeed penalty, and to make matters worse, we had an collision with MAN. We just turned right according to the roadbook, when MAN out of nowhere hit us in full speed. It was a shock - without any warning he hit our cab door from the right. Fortunately, nothing happened to anyone and even the car was much damage, but it was very unexpected,”Kozlovský described the hardships in the last stage.
After eight stages, Sergei Viazovich with MAZ is enjoying the overall victory in Saidia. After four years, Martin van den Brink is not on the podium for the first time when he finishes fourth. He would only need four minutes to silver position. Gert Huzink moved to the final sixth position after victory in final stage. “Gert was great. He had a clean ride without any troubles. Finishing with a victory is great, but I do not hide the fact that we are disappointed with the overall fourth place. We did a lot of work on the car and the whole system was stable. Indeed, except for some small things, it worked great. But the competition does not sleep as well. Racing simply works this way,”Daniel Kozlovský, on-board technician from Židovice, concluded the Moroccan rally.