Nine years ago, among the ten qualifying events of the World Rally Championship for Makes was one which has never since been included; one which ranked with the Safari as one of the world’s most challenging endurance rallies.
In 1977, the world series became decidedly poorer and less colourful by the absence of one of its toughest and most demanding ingredients, the Morocco Rally. For various reasons, the rally ceased to exist, and its former participants, not to mention mechanics, managers, organisers and other followers were saddened that their year would not include a week facing the adventures of the Atlas Mountains and the interminable desert tracks of the country’s South.
However, there are all the signs of a revival, and we are delighted to report that the Morocco Rally will reappear in 1985, being held from September 10th to 14th.
No doubt it will attract but few of its former competitors to have a go again, but we don’t mind taking a wager that many will go along for the pleasure of reliving past adventures; cramming desert scrub into punctured tyres just to keep going; servicing in the shade of the desert fort at Agdz; having spares dropped by makeshift parachute; the cooling dip in the long river crossing at Rich; the spontaneous hospitality of the people of oasis settlements, and the never-ending slog through a special stage all of 500 miles long!
By the combined efforts of the Royal Moroccan Automobile Club, Marlboro, the Moroccan Tobacco Company, Royal Air Maroc and the Paris promotional company Promocourse, an agreement was reached to revive the rally this year, with a view to applying for an eventual return to the World Championship.
Until that time, the event has no FISA championship rules to consider, so in addition to cars of groups A, B and N, it will be open this year to non-homologated prototypes, providing teams with a golden opportunity for tough, competitive testing. Its total distance will be 4,870 km, and the 16 special stages will account for 2,500 km. Many British privateers have tackled this classic rally in the past, with cars varying from a V8-engined Escort to a Mini, and we wonder if they will be tempted, along with younger crews, to make the trip to North-West Africa in September. After all, the two sea crossings are very short ones.
For more information, contact Promocours International, 10 Rue Turpin, 94120 Fontenay-sous-Bois, France. Tel: (1) 3940150. Telex: 231787. — GP.