THE FINAL CONFRONTATION

More sand, more dunes :  today’s route went over some of the same sections as the day before, but in the opposite direction.  For around one hundred kilometres, there were plenty of dunes to cross (of varying lengths) separated by plateaus, vegetation, camel grass and dry lakes… A colourful day, which was, of course, superb !

The second part of the route was faster, with some winding passages and soft sections.

This final timed stage kept all its promises, as did the second edition of the Africa Eco Race…

 

AND FOUR FOR JACKY LOOMANS ! JEAN-LOUIS SCHLESSER PERFECT WINNER OF THIS SECOND EDITION …

Between Tenadi and Saint Louis, the 204-km special stage was far from being a simple formality. Jacky Loomans, more on form than ever, took advantage to claim his fourth stage win, ahead of … Jérôme Pelichet, by just five seconds !  A victory that the Belgian driver dedicated to his grandson, who celebrates his birthday today ! As for Jérôme Pelichet, he may not have been able to add a stage win to his career record, but the second place overall delighted him, especially as back on the third stage, he was ready to retire due to engine problems… The real joy, however, will be for tomorrow when they reach the Rose Lake : “It will be the first time for Eugénie, and as for me… I haven’t seen it for a very long time !” Jean-Louis Schlesser is now shaping up to be the double winner of the Africa Eco Race : « Another beautiful stage… We were driving with François Lethier, but at one point he got stuck and we could not really risk losing too much time.  Yesterday’s overheating problem cost us a lot, and if the problem had reoccurred, our first place was under threat.  But François has a good lead over Mido, who is 4th overall. »

Further to serious problems with the deflating – re-inflating system yesterday, the blue buggy lost a lot of time.  Like yesterday, Pelichet Sr worked hard, while enjoying himself.  A fine family success within Team Raid Lynx !

A popular competitor with fine skills behind the wheel, ‘Mido’ was once again enjoying himself on his favourite playground.  Fourth overall, and plenty of satisfaction at having completed a fine race.  With his navigator Mahmoud Nour El Din, the Egyptians never faltered. Just like Gilles Florin with the Cotel Buggy, which today surfed over the dunes with particular efficiency …

In the trucks, Hungarian driver Miklos Kovacs claimed another win in his Scania, ‘sliding’ towards the Rose Lake.

On two wheels, the Italian rider Marco Capodacqua added his name to the record books of the Africa Eco Race finishing ahead of his compatriots Alberto Dottori and Giovanni Stefani. An extraordinary adventure for these pure amateurs.

Tomorrow, the arrival at the Rose Lake will allow the caravan of the Africa Eco Race to celebrate its winners after 11 days of intense racing in surroundings which were quite simply extraordinary.

 

The man who drew the route and made the road-book José Maria SERVIA was at the finish line in the bivouac of Idini, 70 km far from Nouakchott. While he was leaving his POWERADE Buggy, Jean Louis SCHLESSER saw his former team-mate and dashed towards him:" Once again, you haven't been cool with today's stage! The first eight kilometres were very difficult and then we've been racing for more than 100 km in camel weed. A crazy speciale! I've been stopped between two small dunes and we've been struggling for half an hour to get out of there. It was really complicated!" A euphemism since the second car which crossed the line after Jean Louis SCHLESSER was Artem VARENTSOV's TOYOTA more than three hours later. He has kept the second rank of the overall ranking however inserted between SCHLESSER and Abdelhamid ABOUYOUSSEF who has lost precious time due to clutch problems. Even towed by the hungarian driver Miklos KOVACS's truck to get out of the dunes, the Egyptian crossed the line out of time and got a penalty relegating him two hours and a half behind the second of the overall ranking. Four other cars, Jan DE ROOY's trucks, Hans BEKX and Giacomo VISMARA also got the problem. The monsters of the desert but Miklos KOVACS have been trapped in the erg leading to CP1. The Hungarian quickly found his way and finished the speciale one hour before the others. The SCANIA now leads the overall ranking 1h17' over Hans BEKX's DAF and 1h19' over the Jan DE ROOY's IVECO. Unless a huge problem, Miklos KOVACS is likely to become the first man to win a rallye raid behind the wheel of a SCANIA .

After a new brilliant victory at the handlebars of his BMW, José Manuel PELLICER is now competing to win this very first Africa Race. Indeed, the Spaniard has now a five hour advantage over Arnaud JACQUART's KTM. Thomas SCHATTAT and his YAMAHA are still on the third raw and in spite of the difficulties of the day, he has kept the two hour advantage separating him from senegalese rider Jean Hugues MONEYRON. The Italian Michele GALLIZIA and Carlo Alberto MIGLIAZZA had rather take the road and prefered being sanctioned to keep their chance to join Dakar. To finish, Olivier LE COQ, the rider from Ivory Coast, got lost in the mauritanian desert due to a major navigation mistake but he was picked up by an organization vehicle.

Tomorrow, after a short speciale of 118 km, the rallye caravan will arrive in Senegal and will stop in Saint Louis before heading towards the Lac Rose to put an end to the very first Africa Race.