Africa Eco Race 2015 - A REAL MAURITANIAN STAGE
Posted by Other - 09/01/15 10:02PM - 0 Comments - Other Rallies -
During the daily briefing last night, with the presence of the opening crew of the 2015 Africa Eco Race after having finished their mission, René METGE insisted on the fact that it will be very important to check the cape regularly and to keep it to avoid getting lost and losing precious time. When one has chosen his cape, in order to keep it, all that has to be done is to choose a spot on the horizon and head for it. This morning a strong sand wind was swiping the course of this 10th leg from Akjoujt and Akreidil, making the visibility nearly inexistence and thus making the navigation very difficult. Add to that a row of dunes particularly hard to cross in between CP1 and CP2 and the result is a very hard penultimate Mauritian stage. With all that in mind the different leaders managed to stay strong and there were not big changes in the provisional ranking.
By winning this morning his 3rd leg since the start of this 7th edition of the AFRICA ECO RACE®, Robert THEURETZBACHER proved that he now has the speed and the navigation skills needed to win the event. Indeed, the Austrian made no mistakes, unlike Pal Anders ULLEVALESETER who lost himself in the first fifty kilometers. Having only lost 3’58” and keeping his 2h28’10” lead on THEURETZBACHER, ULLEVALESETER seem not be scared of his 2nd place and said that is fully concentrated on the final stage tomorrow, but also for the stage on Sunday to the Lac Rose in Dakar. On the other hand and with no surprise, Gilles VANDERWEYEN did not manage to keep his 3rd place to Ingo WALDSCHMIDT in the general ranking. Indeed he did an almost perfect stage, where as the Belgium lost almost 2 hours. The good result of the day is from John Olav LINDTJORN with a 4th place in front of the amazing Anastasiya NIFONTOVA, who was 5th with her HUSABERG 450, next to the KTM armada. A true performance for this young Russian woman who seems stronger and faster every day, to the image of the Senegal-Frenchman Julien SANCHEZ on his YAMAHA, 6th at 4’53 with his number 113.
In the cars, for the first time Jean Antoine SABATIER seemed very happy to get to the end of the stage. It must be said that in the absence of any traces on the tracks, as they were all blown away with the sand wind, the Moroccan-Frenchman was driving in the blind all day long. He put his destiny in the hands of Jean Luc ROJAT, his navigator. After many difficult times since the start of the AFRICA ECO RACE®, this time his co-driver was flawless, bringing the BUGGA ONE to the victory. Behind, the two KAMAZ’s of Anton SHIBALOV and of Sergey KUPRIANOV who finished 2nd at 4’19” and 3rd at 5’52”, in front of the TOYOTA Hilux of Kanat SHAGIROV which is getting better and better. The third car to finish the leg, is the Buggy of Philippe PORCHERON, 7th scratch, followed by the very impressive NISSAN Patrol T2 of Marat ABYKAYEV. To note, the entrance into the top 10 since Nador, in a leg ranking of Gintas PETRUS with his DESERT Warrior. The Lithuanian puts the story straight again after a complicated start of the 2015 race. Finally, just to point out that at 5:30 pm, only 16 cars and trucks had managed to reach the end of the leg. Within those, is the MITSUBISHI Pajero of Guy CONTAZ, relatively far down in the general ranking, but generally comfortable since his wheels touched the Mauritanian sand.
In the desert mammoths, besides the KAMAZ who took again the top two places, Elisabete JACINTO managed once again to have a good day by finishing 3rd thirty minutes behind, but over 12 minutes ahead of the TATRA of Thomas TOMECEK, who unlucky got very stuck at the start of the leg.
Tomorrow, is the final Mauritian stage of this 2015 AFRICA ECO RACE®, but also the lasted timed event of this 7th running of the race. That means that at the end of this 201 km leg from Toueila to Ghreidat Lighjoulé, the final ranking will be established and we shall know the different winners of each category. Even though this leg is well known by the loyal drivers of the AFRICA ECO RACE®, and because it is the same course as the past two years, with no major difficulties, there have always been some surprises in the top places. There is a high probability than many will have problems to find their sleep tonight at the bivouac.