Thirty minutes and that’s all it took to cause chaos on the third day of the 2017 Afriquia Merzouga rally. A sandstorm occurred during the second loop stage of the day forcing several of the top riders to lose crucial time. Sherco-TVS’ Juan Pedrero Garcia still continues to be the best placed rider from the Indian contingent finishing eleventh on the stage. He continues to be in the top ten, sitting in seventh overall.
Teammate Adrien Metge clearly struggled on the second day with bike issues, finishing the day down the order in the late sixties. But on the third day he was the fourth fastest on the stages. His position overall though has not improved much.
Aravind K P and Abdul Wahid Tanveer had relatively good results on the day considering the way the stages panned out. The two of them finished 22 and 27, the duo still 25 and 26 in the overall classification.
Day three saw participants tackle a total of 175km which took riders around in twin loops of Erfoud – an outer longer loop of 112km and a shorter inner loop of 63km. Joaquim Rodrigues who finished 7th overall at the end of day two slipped nine place to finish 16thoverall and 23rd at the end of day three. This was due to a puncture his motorcycle’s cooling system, because of which he had to stop to fix the leaking coolant. In the bargain Joaquim lost time and was caught smack in the middle of the sand storm because of which he had to stop, while other riders had already ridden past the finish line.
Things for CS Santosh also did not go all that well as he struggled to cope with the malfunction of his road book reading equipment, because of which he lost time in completing the outer 112km loop. Santosh tackled the inner 63km loop with ease, but like his teammate he too got caught in the storm, a few km before the finish line. Battling through the sand, Santosh finished the day at 17th place and managing to hold on to his 15th position overall.
The fourth day of the rally will be one long timed section of 274km. This stage is also the beginning of the marathon stage which means the riders wont receive any service at the end of the day four.