After a rather frightening night on the plain of Azougui, competitors of the 2017 AFRICA ECO RACE started this 9th stage between Azougui and Akjoujt, a village located halfway between Atar and Nouakchott. At the program of the day, a special stage of 391 km half dunes, half fast track and technical, wothout forgetting a big part of navigation. Still enough to waste a lot of time. Fortunately, this was not the case for the leaders of the different categories who, instead, confirmed their positions.
It was nice to hear the radio transmission of René METGE speaking with the PC Course this morning. The sporting Director of AFRICA ECO RACE was flying over the leading motorcycle in the first stretch of dunes: "I am above 128. he makes his own trace completely outside of those made by the openers. It is very impressive and beautiful to see this! " N ° 128 in question is Gev SELLA, the 18-year-old Israeli who participates in his first great offroad Rally, who’s leading the motorcycle class and who still dominated his opponents today.
Starting with Pal Anders ULLEVALSETER, 2nd overall who’s at 7'41 ''. At the finish, the Norwegian once again congratulated his young opponent and asked him if he played a lot with his game console. Indeed, Gev gives so much impression that everything is easy that it could be explained by intensive virtual training. A joke but also a way to relativize a situation that must still be difficult to live for this great champion dominated by 44'05 '' in the overall ranks by a young man.
Behind the infernal duo, Paolo CECI still racing finished 3rd at 27'42 '' , despite a lap on the balai truck thanks to the regulation of the AFRICA ECO RACE.
The Italian is ahead of Jan ZATKO and Martin BENKO. A Slovak pair that was efficient today since the first took the other in the dunes and conversely on the fast portions.
Guillaume MARTENS again signs the 6th time of the day and confirms his place of leader of the classification "Malle Moto MOTUL".
Nice performance also from the Portuguese pilot Didier FREDERICO, 7th of the day after getting to know the balal truck yesterday for a breaking an engine.
Aleksandr MAKSIMOV returns to the top 10 with his Quad. There are only two days left and the Russian could become the first quad to climb on the podium of the AFRICA ECO RACE at Lac Rose in Dakar.
LA PREMIÈRE DE SIREYJOL
Since the start of this 9th edition of the AFRICA ECO RACE, Patrick SIREYJOL, clearly among the favorites in the Auto class, has had only one clear stage, faced with recurring problems of power steering. The solution has fortunately been found since yesterday with a 3rd place as a result. Today, the CUMMINS driver had warned François Xavier BEGUIN his co-pilot asking him to focus particularly on the road book because he was determined to attack. Mission accomplished on both sides since the LCR30 Buggy sets the fastest time thanks to a no-fault crew.
A first victory in front of the HUMMER of Miroslav ZAPLETAL at only 50 seconds.
Behind is Guillaume GOMEZ, still performing well on his OPTIMUS at 5'58 '', but also Andrey CHEREDNIKOV whose FORD Raptor was at the rendez-vous, and Jean Antoine SABATIER who returns in the Top 5 at the wheel of his BUGGA ONE.
Once again, Dominique HOUSIEAUX showed regularity and finished 6th at 9'46 ''. By placing 7th of the special, Vladimir VASILYEV obviously continues to control the race. On the other hand, very bad operation and first bad performance for Pascal THOMASSE blocked a long time by rocks at the bottom of a dune. As a result, his OPTIMUS had some damages, and the French lost more than an hour and he is only 6th overall. He is not the only one to have been victim of these rocks since Mathieu SERRADORI, again predicted to win the scratch, snatched the rear train of his SRT Buggy. A scenario that would recur for the French if he was forced to retire it because two years ago he had abandoned in Akjoujt the day after his victory at Azougui.
In the general ranking, Dominique HOUSIEAUX made the good operation of the day since he takes the 2nd place overall at 2h02'38 '' of VASILYEV. He is under the direct threat of Miroslav ZAPLETAL, 3rd at 2h06'59 ''. For his second participation, Guillaume GOMEZ is 4th at 2h23'49, just ahead of Andrey CHEREDNIKOV at 2h28'04 '' and Pascal THOMASSE 2h34'42 ''. A little more than 32 minutes between the 2nd and 6th. When it is known that two days before the finish, there are still more than 600 kilometers of specials stage to go on quite a complicated terrain, it is not taking much risk to say that everything can still change.
VALTR CONTINUES HIS SHOW
The least that can be said is that KAMAZ Team did not spend a quiet day on this 9th stage since for the first time in a very long time, neither of the two Russian trucks ends on the podium of the day. Sergey KUPRIANOV stuck himself very deeply and his team-mate Andrey KARGINOV lost a lot of time to help him get out of this bad step.
Meanwhile, Jaroslav VALTR had the perfect special stage at the wheel of his TATRA, taking the 8th time Auto / Truck. The Czech is ahead of his compatriot Tomas TOMECEK, 11th and the Hungarian Miklos KOVACS 15th on his SCANIA. In general, KARGINOV is 7th in the scratch and 1st truck. The Russian is more than one hour and twenty minutes ahead of VALTR, while TOMECEK is 3rd, more than an hour and fifteen minutes from second.
On Thursday January 12th 2017, the second and last loop of the AFRICA ECO RACE, with a special stage of 424 km, is announced to be the justice of the peace of the race. Anything can still happen as well in Motorcycle as in Auto / Truck.