The main dish today was served by GC Bike leader Harite Gabari and runner-up Pedro Bianchi Prata. They set out for a spectacular and highly tactical race.
Pedro Bianchi Prata:
“This stage started really well for me. I was leading by 14 minutes, but then I lost track. The roadbook wasn’t really precise in my opinion, but then again: Harite Gabari had it right. We started riding together. In order to win this Morocco Desert Challenge, I had to win back time on Gabari. So I started playing it tactically by taking the wrong turn on purpose, hoping he would follow me and eventually get lost. Then I slowed down, forcing him to take the lead and navigate himself, but he knew very well what I was doing. I even stopped to pee, but it didn’t help!”
‘’That’s the way it goes in rally,’’
“One has to try everything to win. It didn’t work out, I’m still about 15 minutes behind in GC. If Gabari is smart, he just follows me to the finish line tomorrow and brings home the victory.”
Leader in GC, Moroccan KTM-pilot Harite Gabari, acknowledges rallies aren’t just about physical condition and engineering, the tactical game is as important.
“I was way faster than Prata today,” he says. “There were parts where I went flat out to 150 km/h. Once I got on his tail, I just had to follow him. He tried really hard to send me in the wrong direction, by taking wrong turns on purpose or even stopping, but he couldn’t fool me.”
“They say: you first have to finish, before you can finish first. That is why I will race tomorrow like I would do in any other stage. As a leader I have everything in my own hands. If Pedro gets in front of me tomorrow, I will stay by his side the whole time. He can try to fool me all day long, I don’t care. I’m staying with him.’’