Good bye, Morocco … Hello, Mauritania !

The final special stage in Morocco before entering the Mauritanian territory, the timed sector of the sixth stage was short, but followed by a long liaison in order to reach the border.

The route had two totally different aspects, taking place over two sorts of terrain.  The first part was sandy, with some small dunes to cross, before the track became faster, between the cairns.  But afterwards, the sand was replaced by an increasingly rocky track until the finish line, leading to a number of punctures.

There were a number of parallel tracks, meaning that it was vital to follow the bearings to the letter, as everything looked the same !  The navigators had plenty to do…

And two for Jacky Loomans !

Today’s special stage came down to a single second between Jacky Loomans and Jérôme Pelichet. Despite three punctures, including two at the same time, the Belgian driver kept the advantage, delighting the cameramen by sliding over the finish line… Also suffering a puncture, the Bowler Wildcat seems to be back on form, to the delight of its driver, Jérôme Pelichet: “I followed the directions given by Eugénie exactly, without worrying about the two Schlesser buggies, which went off in a different direction. It was a good stage, even if Jacky beat us by one second…”

As far as Team Schlesser is concerned: “No stress… Now, we have to manage the Mauritanian section, trying not to get stuck in the sand, while keeping a close eye on the navigation.”  Overall, Jean-Louis Schlesser has a comfortable lead, as does  François Lethier, over Jérôme Pelichet and Jacky Loomans.

Edmond Pelichet has now got his bearings and was keeping up with the leading quartet, despite a puncture.  There was also a puncture for the Egyptian driver Mido who preferred a cautious stage rather than gambling on his hopes the day before the Mauritanian stages, where he will be back on his favourite terrain : the sand.

The Audi Buggy driven by Rudy Goeminne was unlucky today, suffering from overheating and a shortened stage. Most of the pack is continuing at their own pace, including the Ch’ti Kangoo… all should reach the Boulanouar bivouac, in Mauritania, by this evening !

Miklos Kovacs set the best time today among the trucks.  Over this extremely fast terrain, the Hungarian driver’s Scania got the better of Elisabete Jacinto’s MAN.  The Portuguese driver may have had less horsepower, but she was still extremely satisfied to be fighting with the Hungarian colossus.   

On two wheels, the Italian trio continues their progress, with Alberto Dottori still leading the class.