The rally stars of bikes, cars and trucks categories were out in force on Thursday, a day before the Rally Morocco in Zagora gets underway - a race that is seen as a key precursor event to the legendary Dakar Rally, which will take place in Saudi Arabia in January 2022.
"We (KTM team) are working. We did a lot of testing in America, and now this race (Rally Morocco) is very important for us just to continue development and working together with the team, just to have the bike in the best condition for the (2022) Dakar (Rally, held in Saudi Arabia in January next year)," Kevin Benavides, KTM rider said.
The Rally began with a 10km qualifying stage Thursday afternoon and the leading cars will then start the first of the five desert stages Friday.
Rally Morocco, known until the early 2000s as the Atlas Rally, is a full-scale rehearsal for the Dakar, which will take place in Saudi Arabia next January. An objective for Qatari driver Nasser Al-Attiyah, a three-time winner of the competition.
"(It is) nice to be again here, and we see everybody coming and competing in this race (Rally Morocco). It is very important for everybody because it is a really hard race and you can learn a lot, you know," Nasser Al-Attiyah, Red Bull Toyota driver said.
The first 298.24km desert stage will be split into two sections. Competitors will tackle 1633.52km against the clock over the six days in a total route of 2686.80km.