ENYAQ iV TAKES ON THE ŠKODA TITAN DESERT IN THE SAHARA
The ŠKODA Titan Desert Morocco race is nicknamed Dakar on two wheels. 645 racing kilometres, 5,825 vertical metres, six challenging stages, temperatures above 40oC and seven days and seven nights in the Sahara combine to make one of the world’s toughest cycling stage races. From 29 April to 5 May, over five hundred men and women braved the desert heat on mountain bikes. And so did a fleet of escort and organiser ŠKODA vehicles, including the ENYAQ iV.
How did it cope with the challenging desert conditions in Morocco? “It’s true that high temperatures don’t usually do batteries much good and have a negative effect on their performance. But this doesn’t apply to the ENYAQ iV: even when the mercury climbed above forty degrees Celsius during the day, we were able to cover over four hundred kilometres on a single charge,” says We Love Cycling project manager Jan Hejna.
The Czech carmaker, which became the event’s main sponsor this year, supported the race for the third time. ŠKODA is a traditional cycling partner – since 2004 it has been the official sponsor of the Tour de France and also sponsored the green jersey for the leading rider in the points classification. In addition, it has sponsored the green jersey for the rider with the highest number of points in the Spanish La Vuelta for 11 years now.
How do you recharge in the desert?
The fleet of the organiser’s cars consisted of three KODIAQ SUVs, three KAROQs and one representative each of the KAMIQ and ENYAQ iV models. They were brought from Spain to the race on lorries that also carried all the race equipment. In Europe, the electric cars were charged by chargers at the hotels where the participants and organisers stayed overnight before the start of the competition. In the desert camps, 17-kilowatt fuel generators provided the power.
“The ENYAQ iV was used by the organisers as the car leading in the peloton – its quiet drive and zero emissions are ideal for a bike race like the ŠKODA Titan Desert Morocco. The car proved to be very reliable and the drive was beautifully smooth and quiet. The low centre of gravity makes the car supremely stable on long desert roads. And thanks to its powerful torque, the ENYAQ iV also coped admirably with the tricky sandy surface,” says Joan Massalle Carreras, ŠKODA Sponsoring and Event Manager in Spain.
The organisers and journalists used the 147-kilowatt (200 hp) KODIAQ 2.0 TDI with all-wheel drive – fitted with special off-road tyres – to follow the race. The same car was also available to the pilot of the camera drone. The six-stage competition covering 645 tough kilometres was won by well-known riders. While the women’s race was a fairly straightforward affair, the conclusion of the men’s category was highly dramatic.
Never give up!
That was the motto of thirty-three-year-old Swiss rider Konny Looser, the winner of last year’s race. He started the final stage of this year’s race only three seconds behind Spain’s Francisco Herrera. Just three kilometres from the finish of the 76-kilometre route from Erg Chebbi to the finish in Maadid, Looser decided to throw the dice: he abandoned the marked route and took what he hoped was a shortcut. And it paid off. He gained fifteen seconds on Herrera and won the overall classification by the smallest margin in history – twelve seconds!
The women’s race was won by a cyclist who apparently doesn’t know the meaning of the word lose. Forty-one year old Spaniard Anna Ramírez has won all four ŠKODA Titan Desert races she’s taken part in, with this year’s triumph added to her victories in 2015, 2017 and 2019. Her winning margin was impressive: almost six minutes.