Interviews with the MDC 2017 winners
Bikes Overall: Harite Gabari
‘A GIFT FOR ME, MY COUNTRY AND THE MOROCCO DESERT CHALLENGE’
Gabari “I never even dreamed of winning this race. On a national level I’ve won quite a few races, but not on the international level. When the organisation gave me race number 101, I considered it to be a beautiful tribute to the fact I am the only Moroccan competitor in the Morocco Desert Challenge. Winning this race is the best gift I could give me, my country and the rally.
As I was sick for two days, I never thought it was possible to win. It was so difficult to stay in the race. I thought about giving up, but I managed to hang on by sheer power of will. I have to thank the guys in the EAO-racing team for helping me and standing by my side the whole time. And they kept my bike in great shape.
The last two days me and Pedro Bianchi Prata were battling like maniacs. Pedro is a better pilot than me, but he had some problems in the beginning of the week and didn’t have enough time to make up for them. Today, my only goal was to stay with him. I didn’t take any chances.”
Quads: Joey van den Outenaar
‘THIS WAS A TRUE RALLY-RAID’
Van den Outenaar “I’ve been through a lot this week. The stages were really hard, very challenging and the navigation was extremely difficult. This was a true rally-raid with everything to offer. That is why I am so glad with this victory. I think I will come back next year, but not on the quad. I consider taking part with a buggy and I have been asked to navigate in a truck. I have got some serious thinking to do.”
Cars Overall and 4×4: Tomas Ourednicek / David Krupal
‘WITH SWEATY HANDS TO THE FINISH LINE’
Ourednicek “To begin the last stage with 8 minuten-difference is really tight. It’s nothing. One mistake and it’s all over. It even looked like it was going to happen. The last ten kilometers we made a wrong turn, so then it got really really tight. When we saw that Maik Willems hadn’t finished yet, we were so reliefed! I am so very happy with this victory.
This rally was important for us. David and I never raced together, so it took us a few days to get used to each other. But now I can tell he is a better navigator then I ever was. In this rally navigation was the key to victory, as cars and pilots were at the same level.
Because it’s all new to us, I didn’t expect to win. The race was so competitive and full-on. We’ve enjoyed this whole experience so much !”
Buggy’s: Tim Coronel
‘A PRESENT FOR ME AND THE TEAM’
Coronel “Winning this Morocco Desert Challenge is a gift for myself and the team I have been working with al these years. This was my last race with my baby, the buggy, so I wanted to have fun. Winning the buggy-ranking is a bonus. I couldn’t have dreamt a better end of this era. In the Dakar I had so many problems. This week I had so much fun and the buggy ran smooth all the time.”
OVERALL: MARTIN VAN DEN BRINK / WOUTER DE GRAAFF / DANIËL KOZLOVSKY
‘THE MOST BEAUTIFUL RALLY I HAVE EVER RACED’
Van Den Brink “We came here to test and improve the truck. You need a heavy rally like the Morocco Desert Challenge. That is the reason why we went full gas all week: to test the reliability. Our Renault suffered.
Besides the racing and the testing, we had a great deal of fun. My navigator, who had so much experience, just said it: this is the most beautiful rally I have ever raced. He’s so right. We did it all: gorgeous and varied stages, difficult navigation and lots of kilometres.”