South African Dakar rookie hero Hennie de Klerk is en route to Morocco to race his TreasuryOne WCT Engineering Amarok in the Desert Challenge across the Western Sahara from 12 to 20 April. Pretoria businessman de Klerk will have Johan Smalberger reading notes along several original African Dakar Rally stages on his first international outing since his Dakar success.
“We are on our way to race the spectacular 3000km eight-day coast-to-coast Morocco Desert Challenge,” Hennie confirmed. "Three of those days tackle Sharan desert dunes and we will race the rest across technically challenging fast tracks, wide African plains and salt lakes that also make up several legendary Paris-to-Dakar-stages."
The Morocco Desert Challenge kicks off with scrutineering in Agadir before racing starts with a flat out 25km dash down the beach to commence the 218km prologue from Plage Blanche to Abetteh Saturday 13 April. The real race then starts with a 402km run to Smara that runs deep into the Sahara on Sunday, before 372km to Assa Monday.
Tuesday brings a legendary 425km Dakar stage along fast tracks to Foum Zguid, before a sandy 308km run through the desert to Zagora on Wednesday and more of the same on a pair of 370km classic desert classics to Merzouga on Thursday and 427km on to Bouarfa Friday. The race concludes with a 219km sting in the tail to the finish at Saïdia on Saturday.
“They tell us that the Desert Challenge is similar to the Dakar,” Hennie de Klerk concluded. “So we trust that our experience will help us in Morocco — we are beyond excited to get racing and I cannot wait to get behind the wheel in anger again — we fully intend to make our South African fans proud!”