Pure Delight…

The Africa Eco Race 2010 got back underway today after a well-deserved rest day at the seaside resort of Agadir.  The timed stage between Agadir and Greid Lareich was beautiful, and generally very fast.  Towards the end of the route, a few dunes made their appearance, without causing any problems…

From the start to the 103 km point, it was vital to follow the headings, while trying to stay on the main route.  Various rocky descents took the competitors to a track which became gradually more sandy, but still very winding.  

Towards the 250 km point, there were some winding routes between the dunes, with the terrain very soft in sections.  To avoid the potential traps of the parallel tracks, it was essential to follow the right direction.

 

A second wind for Pelichet …Loomans watches and waits !

Once again, the ‘blues’ were in control over the 300 km timed stage.  This stage, which was very fast, proved to be no problem for the Schlesser buggies, which set another one-two, Jean-Louis Schlesser in the lead.  After spending the rest day working on his car, Jérôme Pelichet gained a second wind.  In Agadir, the Wildcat gained a new piston, as well as a replaced air temperature sensor (which was probably behind the breakdown on the 4th stage).  Setting the third-fastest time today, Jérôme was smiling again… But one Pelichet can hide another one… And his father, Edmond, enjoyed every kilometer today, and set the 4th fastest time.  As for Jacky Loomans, he was very ‘careful’ today.  Slightly superstitious, the Belgian driver has previously been forced to retire on three previous occasions on the stage after the rest day… so today he was keen not to tempt fate.  In sixth position, ‘Mido’, (5th overall), is still consistent and efficient behind the wheel of his Desert Warrior. Gilles Florin is following his strategy to the letter.  Without hurry, he is ‘managing’ his race… After his performance in the fourth stage (3rd fastest) , Jean Jacques Jousseau was less successful today.  But a broken exhaust and a blown rim did not affect team’s morale… as they were heard singing Charles Aznavour’s La Bohême during the stage ! Miroslav Kubicek, with the Range Rover Classic, is still enjoying himself, going – as he likes to say – flat out … with a top speed of 110km/h on the saline lake.  The Swiss drivers are still smiling and enjoying every moment. Juan Aibar with the Toyota had a cloud-free day, without any problems, and the Spanish driver really enjoyed the exercise.  Slightly late, but within sight of the bivouac, Stéphane Corso, « Momo » Asloun and Rudy Goeminne should soon join the rest of the pack.

Among the trucks, the duel between Kovacs and Jacinto carries on. Today, Elisabete gained two minutes on the Hungarian driver, who is holding on to the lead.  Like a bodyguard, he kept up with Elisabete throughout the stage,  after she overtook him a few kilometres after the start. Noël Essers put in a cautious stage, like Stéphane Olivier, who had a ‘clear’ run today.  


Finally, on two wheels, Alberto Dottori put in a faultless performance, claiming full honours today with the stage win (with a lead of 2 minutes) and taking the first place in the overall classification, just two seconds ahead of Marco Capodacqua.  However, Giovanni Stefani lost 27 minutes and is now 11 minutes behind the leader.