The 2023 World Rally-Raid Championship season wrapped up Wednesday with a “simple” 152-kilometre dash to Merzouga to conclude the Rallye du Maroc, but headlines and championship pictures pervaded the paddock entering the leg.
Ironically, none of the W2RC winners on Wednesday won the championship. Save for the attrition-heavy Open classes where Jérôme Cambier and Tomas Mickus were among the few to complete the rally, João Ferreira and Alexandre Giroud were the only Stage #5 winners who also claimed the overall in their categories.
Ferreira held off Sebastián Guayasamín to win in T4 by seventeen minutes, aided by the latter receiving a six-minute penalty. Giroud only needed to worry about Juraj Varga, but the latter struggled to a fifth-place finish that enabled Giroud to pull away for the Quad victory; Varga was still the highest finisher in the W2RC and thus received maximum points in that department.
With his fellow rivals dropping to the bottom of the T1 rankings on Tuesday, Yazeed Al-Rajhi was in the clear to win the overall after second-placed Stéphane Peterhansel stopped just twenty-eight kilometres into the stage with a mechanical issue, though he ultimately ended without any stage wins after getting a ten-second time penalty that allowed Orlando Terranova to win by five seconds. Terranova is the only driver besides Sébastien Loeb to win a W2RC stage in 2023 for Prodrive.
Nasser Al-Attiyah, with the title clinched and leading the overall until he and Loeb were among the Stage #4 victims, retired again after completing just six kilometres.