Rafael Cerezo: “Once in it, we get the competitive bug”

Q: Rafael Cerezo, half of the Rallye du Maroc is over – how are your impressions so far?

This year we have been to some new places like the Gorge of Dades. Magnificent! Weather was mostly good after the big rain in Essaouira. The scenery is great but some of the roads are a bit too uneven and bumpy for the old cars. The hotels are good… the Xaluca in Dades with superb views. The organisation is mostly good although they have made a couple of mistakes. However, and it speaks in their favour, the team recognises them and they are willing to change. Yesterday we also went through the Todra Gorge, a very narrow passage by a river surrounded by high cliffs… (Impressive!) and ended the day at the Merzouga dunes… fantastic high sand dunes in the middle of nowhere. True ‘film’ dessert!

Q: There were several long and dusty legs to challenge, Did you have any problems?

My car is having some big carburation problems… I don’t know if it is the petrol, the height, the ignition, or just the heat (I don’t think it’s the latter), but she loses power continuously. This is specially bad if it happens in the middle of a regularity test. The mechanics have been trying to fix it and it runs fine for a couple of hundred kms and then it happens again. Today they are changing spark plugs to see if it helps.

Q: Yesterday your team and your car realized an extra performance – you won one of the regularities – an absolute highlight?

Indeed two highlights: They found my lost suitcase (had been missing from day 2!) and we won a regularity. My son is the copilot and he does wonderful work. If the car responds we tend to do ok. Still we are now happy… won a regularity and are 6th in the general classification.

Q: The road ahead is still long – but after yesterday’s success you are surely highly motivated – did you change your expectations?

We always come to have a good time, be with friends and enjoy the place. However, once in it we get the competitive bug and like to be well placed. This for us is top 10. We do have a shot at top 5, if the car behaves… Inshalah!!!

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