When it was announced in Corsica in May that the Morocco Rally was to be revived, the news delighted everyone who had had any form of connection with the old World Championship event. But there was some concern about its September date, for that is a crowded month in a crowded year, and a poor entry due to date clashes would not do justice to what promised to be a fine rally.
Apparently there were other clashes internally which brought the route survey schedule into conflict with important national events, and the result has been the postponement of the rally until the second week of December.
This will be welcome news, for it gives both the organisers and potential entrants far more time to prepare for this tough but satisfying event. It last figured in the World Championship in 1976, and it was a great loss to the series when it came to an end, largely for financial reasons. It now has adequate backing again, and it remains to be seen whether it can eventually regain its former championship status.
Road sections tend to be long in Morocco, but long special stages more than compensate for this. The longest in the past was some 500 miles, along rough, remote desert tracks in the South along which competitors needed to arrange in-stage fuel and tyre supplies. Indeed, it was not uncommon for spare parts to be dropped by parachute to stricken cars, and it was on this event in 1974 that we recall the first serious use being made of a helicopter for servicing, when Fiat hired an Alouette of the Royal Bodyguard Flight to supplement its radio relay aircraft.
That helicopter, carrying two pilots, two mechanics and as many spares as the maximum all-up weight would permit, started a trend which has escalated, and nowadays one rarely sees a works Peugeot, Audi or Lancia without its attendant helicopter. There are those who criticise such an advantage of affluence, but a rally team may allocate its budget as it wishes, and who is FISA or anyone else to dictate how money should be spent?
Furthermore, rally stages are invariably in remote areas where the best medical attention is not quickly available, and one cannot argue with teams who wish to come prepared with their own means of fast transport to hospital of anyone hurt in an accident. Hans Schuller in Kenya, and Ari Vatanen and Terry Harryman in Argentina could well owe their lives to the fact that there were helicopters close by when they were injured.
A feature of the Morocco Rally, for 1985 at least, will be its acceptance of non-homologated prototype cars. These are said to be by invitation only, but this is surely a formality and there will no doubt be an automatic invitation to anyone, particularly a factory team, anxious to put a prototype through a first class test.
The rally will start and finish at Casablanca, and there will be rest stops at Marrakesh. Other places to be visited are Missour, Rich, Midelt, Agdz, Ouarzazate, Zagora, Tata, Foum Zguid and Tizi’n Test, and these are just a few of the names which will bring pleasant memories to those who have competed in past Morocco Rallies.
More information is available from the rally’s Paris ·office, Promocourse International, 12 Rue Turpin, 94120 Fontenaysous-Bois, France. Telex 231787.
LAST month, when speaking of the Amerathon, we neglected (due to a slip of the scissors) to record that the rally did not, after all, enter South America, and that the winners were Yann Cadoret, Frederic le Chanu and Francoise Jaquot in a four-wheel-drive Mercedes Benz 280G which gave little trouble save for two punctures and a spot of fuel vaporisation in the heat of Nevada’s Death Valley.
Two readers contacted us a few weeks ago to announce with pride that they knew the meanings of “glissning” and “tywyllwch”, two words which we used in August’s Motor Sport in our item on keeping English free from French invasion. Doubtless many more of you are equally knowledgeable, but it will do no harm to proclaim that the former is the Swedish for “guessing” and the latter the Welsh for “darkness”.