Mardi 8 janvier 2019 : Etape 7
CHAMI / GARE DU NORD : 500,99 km
Liaison: Chami / Gare du Nord : 20,01 km
Spéciale : Gare du Nord / Chami : 480,98 km
Arrivée au Bivouac
Cette première vraie spéciale mauritanienne sera également la première des deux traditionnelles étapes en boucles que comportera l’AFRICA ECO RACE® 2019. Si l’on ajoute à cela le fait que l’assistance sur les véhicules en sortant du secteur sélectif est interdite, cela signifie que les mécaniciens seront clairement en congés. Ce ne sera pas le cas pour les concurrents car ce parcours, déjà effectué en 2018 mais dans le sens inverse, ne sera pas de tout repos. D’ailleurs les participants entreront rapidement dans le vif du sujet puisque les 30 premiers kilomètres seront composés d’herbes à chameaux pas toujours très agréables pour les mécaniques et les hommes. Ensuite les premiers franchissements de belles dunes arriveront rapidement. Il faudra surveiller les pressions des pneumatiques et bien respecter le road-book sous peine de se mettre en difficulté. Dans un même temps, il faudra ménager sa monture puisqu’à l’issue de 480 kilomètres du jour, après l’arrivée jugée à la "Gare du Nord", les véhicules entreront directement en parc fermé pour y passer la nuit, sans aucune assistance mécanique.
AFRICA ECO RACE : A VERY HOT DAY
After the cancellation of the 6th special stage yesterday because of the absence of the helicopters which stayed in Dakhla due to bad weather conditions, the race was back on track on the AFRICA ECO RACE 2019. This first real Mauritanian stage between Northern Station and Chami is long of 481km, was going fine until the arrival of the first two autos. Unfortunately, while passing the chronometer line, the buggies N°202 et 211 crashed into each other. If the four competitors miraculously came out without any serious injuries, the two buggies are totally destroyed. This spectacular accident which happened only 2 km from the bivouac, shook the AFRICA ECO RACE caravan. We must say that the results of the day were not the priority at the time, even though this accident will seriously change the ranking.
FIRST VICTORY FOR AGAZZI in moto:
If there was one that was happy at the arrival, it’s Simone AGAZZI who won this special stage. With a perfect navigation, behind the bar of his HONDA, the Italian moto driver was ahead Pal Anders ULLEVALSETER by 2’21’’. An incredible feat as the Norwegian caught up fast with Alessandro BOTTURI who was first on the track. The two-first in the general ranking then raced together, very fast, and this is what enables us to say it was a true feat. Therefore, AGAZZI passes in front of Martin BENKO who arrived 5th, behind Felix JENSEN who keeps a regularity in the race at each stage. In the leaders, BOTTURI is in front with 5’15 ahead of ULLEVALSETER. Needless to say, that this Mauritanian week is going to be intense between the two men.
BIG SCARE in the auto category
Even though they left with two hours delay, time to get the helicopters from Morocco to Mauritania, the auto special stage was going well on a 100% sandy track without major difficulties. The amount of people present at the arrival located near the bivouac, were looking forward to seeing arrive the yellow OPTIMUS Buggy of Dominique LAURE and Christophe CRESPO in first place, followed closely by Sergey and Aleksandr KUPRIANOV, also in an OPTIMUS. Especially, the image of the two buggies arriving racing against each other in the horizon would have been stunning. Unfortunately, due to a false manoeuvre in the dust, both cars collided. At this exact moment, the cars were speeding, and the choc threw them in several roll overs. An absolute unrealistic scene, which luckily had no physical consequences on the 4 competitors. On the other side, for the ranking, it is a complete catastrophe for Dominique LAURE and Christophe CRESPO who had practically won the special stage, and therefore, lengthen their time ahead Jean-Pierre STRUGO and Francois BORSOTOO, only 5th at 21’12’’. Unfortunately, the Buggy N°211 was totally destroyed and they will not be able to hit the road again tomorrow. And even if the car could have been repaired, the fact they didn’t pass the actual arriving point would have made them lose their first place with a penalty by the organisation. Therefore, the victory of the day is for the OPTIMUS of David GERARD and Pascal DELACOUR, just in front of the Tarek of Patrick MARTIN and Didier BIGOT at 12’29’’. In the general ranking, Jean Pierre STRUGO and François BORSOTTO take the first place in from of Patrick MARTIN and Didier BIGOT, when David GERARD and Pascal DELACOUR take the last place of the podium.
JACINTO settling his leadership in the truck category
Faultless once again today, Elisabete JACINTO, Jose MARQUES and Marco COCHINHO finish 5th in the auto/truck category at 27’59’’. The MAN of the Portuguese is ahead of Belgium Igor BOUWENS, Tom DE LEUW and Ulrich BOERBOOM’s IVECO by 9’30’’, as well as Tomas TOMECEK and his TATRA by approx. 20 minutes. In the general ranking, Elisabete is 6th in the auto/truck ranking and 1st of the desert beasts. With over 2 hours ahead of Noël ESSERS, Marc LAUWERS and Johan COONINX, followed closely by Igor BOUWENS with 6’14’’.
Tomorrow the AFRICA ECO RACE will take the direction of Atar with a special sector of 445 kilometers. The competitors will find their first dunes crossing quite challenging and landscapes as only Mauritania can offer at the end of the stage.