The final special of the Merzouga Rally, at just over 40 kilometres long, was a spectacular one, with one hundred riders making a mass line-start. Argentine Kevin Benavides reached the finish line conceding a mere three seconds to the final stage winner, Pablo Quintanilla. This guaranteed the rider second place on the overall leader board. Joan Barreda kept his rivals in check all the way from the en masse start and cruised to overall victory in the 2018 Merzouga Rally with a sixth place finish on the day.
Meanwhile American Ricky Brabec completed a successful rally, finishing in fifth position and young Chilean prospect José Ignacio Cornejo sealed an eighth final place, crossing the line hot on the heels of Brabec in this final stage. Portuguese Paulo Gonçalves, growing ever stronger, followed his rivals, yet in spite of finishing among the leading pack, was unable to improve on his overall twelfth position.
Monster Energy Honda Team will be back in competition when they tackle the Atacama Rally from August 11th to 19th for the third round of the FIM Cross-Country Rally World Championship.