THE STAGE OF THE AFRICA ECO RACE 2010…

This 8th stage, around Tabrenkout, was undoubtedly the most difficult but also the most beautiful…

The particularities of the loop including starting and leaving the bivouac with no liaison, heading straight into the action.  The day’s programme was busy, but when the competitors returned home, their eyes were shining… off-track, fast plateaus, rocky zones, soft wadis and dunes… dunes and more dunes.

There were no fewer than five passes to cross, of varying difficulty, but it was quite simply MAGICAL…

 

Jérôme Pelichet … fire and flame !  « Mido », desert prince…

Announced as being the Stage of the rally, this 8th timed stage kept all its promises.  Even the uncontested leader of the event, Jean-Louis Schlesser, was quick to admit that he had suffered over the 442 km of the route before finishing in the lead : “There were dunes as far as the horizon, a real sea of sand… It was better to think than to go too quickly, but that did not stop us from getting out the planks on three occasions!”  Just over ten minutes behind him, Jérôme Pelichet was savouring his performance, but when crossing the finish line, one of his spare wheels, on the rear of the Wildcat, began to smoke.  The fire was quickly brought under control, to the relief of the whole crew : “This special stage was quite hellish, very difficult from the start to the end, but quite simply … magical in terms of the driving, the navigation and the countryside !  We found ourselves alone in the dunes, thinking we’d been left behind by all the other competitors, but in the end… we did quite well.”

So much the better, as the Franco-Swiss duo has moved up to second position in the overall classification ahead of François Lethier, for whom this stage was synonymous with problems… Over two hours lost, and third overall, eight minutes from the Wildcat of Team Raid Lynx. A good result for Mido… The pair of Abdelhamid Abouyoussef / Mahmoud Nour el Din worked perfectly today.  No navigational mistakes, one minor case of getting stuck and two punctures, but a high pace and a good time.   Enough to make the difference in the overall classification, and to take the 4th position.  The ‘Princes of Egypt’ were smiling today after this long day of pleasure : “This stage was very long, very technical as well, but quite simply superb, a real joy…”  Things were not as good for Jacky Loomans.  Serious clutch problems meant that he could go over the dunes. It will cost him dearly this evening when the sums are done.  Once again, well done to Miroslav Kubicek, who was as regular as clockwork today, just like yesterday.  And it paid off :  a fine 5th place in the stage just behind the Buggy of Gilles Florin and Hervé Cotel. The Ch’ti Kangoo of Momo Asloun had to shorten its day further to a collision with the Bowler Nemesis of Vincent Demonceaux right in the heart of the dunes…

In the trucks, Miklos Kovacs did not have any serious problems, unlike yesterday… The Hungarian enjoyed himself, and claimed another stage win ahead of Noël Essers.

On two wheels, further to yesterday’s long and difficult stage, the bikers jointly decided not to drive today.  

Some cars have not yet returned to the bivouac at the time of writing, and are preparing themselves to spend long hours in the dunes…