the 8 Stages of MDC2018
The 2018 route: 8 stages from Coast to Coast and 0 km liaison
Morocco has so much to offer and, true to tradition, we oblige to show our competitors as much of the landscapes as possible. After all, no one gets excited from running around in circles around Merzouga, Zagora or Mhamid.
Morocco Desert Challenge literally is what it promises to be: a real challenge in the Moroccan desert. Following the success of 2017 we have once again chosen to travel from coast to coast: from the beaches of Plage Blanche at the Atlantic to the Mediterranean shores. The route will nevertheless be completely different: new roadbooks, new bivouacs and 8 new stages.
0 kilometre liaison
Not only is Morocco Desert Challenge an adventure full of surprises, with fast tracks, technical parts, vast African plains, even more dunes, salt lakes and legendary Dakar stages, it also offers something really unique: 0 kilometre of liaison from the start of the first special till the finish of the last one. That’s right: no liaison, only pure rally experience. No one has done it before, others will copy it.
A prologue on a mythical location:
And because it’s the 10th anniversary, we’ll offer many extra’s. In 2018 we’ll add an 8th racing day to the rally: a prologue on the stunning and mythical beach of Plage Blanche.
Stage 0: Agadir
On Friday 13th & Saturday April 14th the Morocco Desert Challenge kicks off with scrutineering in Agadir, one of Morocco’s friendly seaside resorts with an international airport. Bivouac 0 is at Place Al Amal, Agadir’s largest public square. The rally hotel, where everybody is accommodated, is just across the street, at less than 100 metres from the bivouac.
Stage 1: Prologue on Plage Blanche
Sunday 15th April: The real start of the rally is at the legendary Plage Blanche, 250 kms south of Agadir. In the late afternoon, we’ll kick off with 37 km WRC tracks, followed by 15 km in a magnificent canyon and finally 25 km “flat out” on a virgin white beach. This short stage is the perfect test for your vehicle. On top of this, a loop and a massive bivouac on Plage Blanche allows the service crew to also enjoy the beauty and the magic of this place.
Distance Special 1 = 77 km / Liaison = 0 km
Stage 2: Plage Blanche – Touzounine
Monday 16th April: After a second start on Plage Blanche this first serious stage takes us east via the bed of the river Draa. Sandy oueds, rocky hills, dried up salt lakes, fast and technical passages alternate on a 50% sandy and 50% stony surface. An empty desert with breath-taking landscapes.
Distance Special 2 = 470 km / Liaison = 0 km
Stage 3: Touzounine – The Dunes of the Jews
Tuesday 17th April: Again a stage for the brave. We start with a the legendary Dakar-piste, crossing the largest military zone of southern Morocco. Desolate but gorgeous landscapes. After racing the dry Lake Iriki, we’ll cross the dunes of chegaga and via sandy, winding tracks we’ll reach our magnificent bivouac in Erg Lihoudi, also known as “the dunes of the Jews”.
Distance Special 3 = 335 km / Liaison = 0 km
Stage 4: The Dunes of the Jews – Fezzou
Wednesday 18th April: An incredibly varied stage in which the first major differences will be made. On the menu are: a large section of the dunes of chegaga, the sandy fesh-fesh oued of Mhamid, the climb of a steep volcano-like pass and 100 kms of fast and wide sand plains on the hamada to the finish. A stage that stands out.
Distance Special 4 = 310 km / Liaison = 0 km
Stage 5: Fezzou – Merzouga
Thursday 19th April: Another classic desert stage with a little bit of everything, expertly composed by our race director. The sand plains from Fezzou to Marabout, the MHarech canyon, the dunes of Ouzina, more lingering tracks through sandy oueds and a first crossing of the Erg Chebbi to round off. A guaranteed show piece.
Distance Special 5 = 275 km / Liaison = 0 km
Stage 6: Merzouga – Boudnib
Friday 20th April: A last day in the dunes, but definitely one for the brave: we’ll start with the north-south crossing of Morocco’s highest dunes, Erg Chebbi, followed by another section of dunes in Erg Znaigui. From here onwards, we change our cap and via a mix of sandy oueds, fast & technical tracks we start heading north.
Distance Special 6 = 306 km / Liaison = 0 km
Stage 7: Boudnib – Matarka
Saturday 21st April: On the menu is a stage of over 400 kms northward through the plains of Hamada and the Rekkam Plateau. After the sand & dunes of southern Morocco we go back to the desolate valleys and panoramic landscapes. You will enjoy this lovely mixture of winding WRC tracks, plains and some technical parts.
Distance Special 7 = 410 km / Liaison = 0 km
Stage 8: Tendrara – Oujda
Sunday 22nd April: The final stage is traditionally a bit shorter, but not to be underestimated as often the sting is in the tail. A jumble of hard to find tracks through fields & pampas demand utter concentration and perfect navigation. Focus is fundamentally because it goes fast, very fast. Just south of Oujda, champagne is waiting for you!
Distance Special 8 = 220 km
On Sunday 22nd April the finish & award ceremony and our 10 years anniversary surprise party will take place in a five star hotel in Saïdia, at the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The port of Nador and the international airports of Oujda & Nador are just around the corner. They day after the rally, you can be home.