2018 Africa Eco Race Stage Reports
12TH STAGE IN SENEGAL: SAINT LOUIS / DAKAR: 230 KM
THE LAC ROSE WELCOMES ITS HEROES
Last day for all participants of the 10th edition of the Africa Eco Race to honor all those who managed to reach Dakar after more than 6000 kilometers. The Lac Rose welcomed these heroes who have all been able to parade on the podium in front of the public.
One last session
All participants had to leave the bivouac in the early morning even before sunrise to join the start of a final fling. After 230 kilometers of liaison, it is on the beach on the shores of Lac Rose that they started for 22 kilometers. A final boost to celebrate the end of the competition before taking the podium to end this 10th Africa Eco Race. Reward for some, deliverance for others, this last day was celebrated in the middle of a crowd where locals and the entourage of some competitors came to enjoy the show.
Mathieu Serradori and Fabian Lurquin (FRA-BEL / MCM) opened the show by crossing the finish line ahead of all the cars to blow the dust one last time by slipping 360 degrees in front of the public. A final battle with Dimitri Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS / MINI) on the beach before enjoying their final victory.
The big winners of this edition were congratulated by the number one motorbike rider, Paolo Ceci (ITA / KTM) while Gerard De Rooy (NL / IVECO), winner on truck category, congratulated Tomas Tomecek (CZE / TATRA) for his 2nd place.
Smiles and champagne
Everyone had a smile, happy to be reunited one last time to celebrate their adventure.
The traditional parade on the podium allowed the drivers to pay tribute to their staff by getting them up for a photo shoot and a champagne shower.
A little further, the spectators could approach the vehicles queuing, some children have even been able to get inside some cars for a photo.
Jean-Louis Schlesser and René Metge also had a big smile on their faces, delighted that this new race went so well. Jean-Louis was even already focused on the next edition: "we already have registrants, and seeing the joy of the Dutch this year, it should grow fast."
As much on the side of the organization as competitors, the slogan was the same despite fatigue: "Heading for next year! ».
Tomecek a real hero
This one deserves to become a legend. Tomas Tomecek (CZE / TATRA) has achieved a feat by reaching Dakar alone in his truck from Monaco. More than 6,000 kilometers later, the triple winner of the event manages to finish his 8th Africa Eco Race in 9th place. He braved the dunes, came out of complicated situations without help and took up the crazy bet that he embarked on to spice up his race. He finished 2nd in the trucks behind Gérard De Rooy (NL / IVECO). "I'm happy like a child, it's a dream come true," he said just behind the podium at Lac Rose.
SSV in the spotlight
Jean-Hugues Moneyron and Thierry Maury (SEN-FRA / CF MOTO) will have reached the end of their goal. This crew of Team Dakar dreamed of joining their city in Senegal by overcoming the race with their SSV. And yet mechanical problems at the end of the first week had complicated things but the motivation and determination of the team composed of two other crews led them safely. They finish 15th in the event and were received as heroes in the country.
Special mention to Jean-Claude Ruffier and Jérome Bos (FRA / CAN AM) who take 26th place with the oldest driver of the event. At 78, he finishes his first rally-raid ... it's never too late!
Blackburn, first of the "malle-motos", Rafferty best veteran
They were nine to embark on the adventure in "malle-motos". These riders who receive no assistance but just a trunk transported by the organization are often those who sleep the least on the bivouac. Thus they find every night the minimum necessary to reach Dakar and are left to themselves to take care of their mechanics. Among them, Jonathan Blackburn (GBR / KTM) achieves the best performance by taking the 5th place. This morning he was relieved to finish and was especially eager to recover with a good night's sleep.
Nathan Rafferty (USA / KTM) finished just behind but won the title in the veteran category.
Team Ullevalseter, youth and experience
This team still has a bright future. Pal Anders Ullevalseter (NOR / KTM) is already experienced at the age of 49 and with two victories in the Africa Eco Race, even if he intends to return to wipe his failure this year, the Norwegian has decided to talk youth. As a national coach, he has selected two young drivers to join him on the adventure of the African desert. Felix Jensen and Marius Helmersen are 26 years old and have participated for the first time in their young career in a full-scale rally. The Norwegian succession is ensured with the nice 4th place of Felix in the overall classification. A performance all the more remarkable since he had an eye surgery to treat his vision problems and took a year to recover. The three team-mates are now looking forward to coming back next year to let their experience talk.
In the classic 4x4 it is Poland that has the best ride on the 4006 km leg. Robert Szustkowski and Albert Gryszczuk (POL / FORD) of the R-Sixteam team were the fastest and won the trophy in their category and finished 29th in the competition. Gérard Van Lieshout and Guido Slaats (NL / TOYOTA) are 2nd in the category ahead of Loïc Frebourg and Franck Boulay (FRA / TOYOTA) who complete the podium
1. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA)
2. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS)
3. Pascal Thomasse / Pascal Larroque n°206 (FRA)
1. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA)
2. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR)
3. Rui Oliveira n°115 (POR)
1. Gerard De Rooy / Darek Rodewald / Moi Torrellardona n°400 (NDL)
2. Tomas Tomecek n°401 (CZE)
3. Johannes Van De Laar / Ben Van De Laar / Adolphus Huijgens n°406 (NDL)
Watch the Stage 12 video recap here!
11TH STAGE IN MAURITANIA : AKJOUJT / SAINT LOUIS : 558 KM
GLORIOUS MATHIEU SERRADORI (FRA/MCM), SIMONE AGAZZI (ITA/HONDA) FOR THE HONOR
The last stage of the 10th edition of the Africa Eco Race was here to confirm the winners of the competition. On a fast track of 219 kilometers, all participants could enjoy the last leg with no pressure and putted an end to their efforts over the last 15 days.
With a last start on the bivouac this morning, the caravan of the Africa Eco Race could look at the start at sunrise. In a pretty relaxed atmosphere knowing that the podiums were already known, the competitors were especially relieved to leave the biggest dunes behind them. They all desired to finish well and have fun one last time before celebrating the end of a rally particularly intense this year with their teams who came at the finish line.
Serradori and Lurquin relieved, Italy honored
There was a lot of emotion for the Serradori Racing Team as the two heroes of this Africa Eco Race emerged from buggy number 202. After an intense battle for nearly ten days alongside last year's winner, Mathieu Serradori and Fabian Lurquin (FRA-BEL / MCM) win the most beautiful victory of their career. The Franco-Belgian crew was very moved to share this moment with their team on arrival, we even saw a few tears in the eyes of Fabian, so proud to achieve such results after many years of effort and hard work. They finish second of the day's leg, regardless of the time, the main thing was to get to the end.
It's the buggy of Guillaume Gomez and François Borsotto (FRA / OPTIMUS) that makes the scratch today, a last important victory to finish the race after suffering during the first three days due to mechanical problems. Disappointed for not being able to fight for the podium, they were feeling better after this second Mauritanian week.
Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS / MINI) did not manage to win the race two years in a row. The Russian crew finished second overall and suffered a lot from the Mauritanian sand that cost them a lot this week.
Pascal Thomasse and Pascal Larroque (FRA / OPTIMUS) offer themselves a final podium before officially climbing on the 3rd step at Lac Rose tomorrow.
Despite all his efforts to catch the podium, Gerard De Rooy (NL / IVECO) signed a very good 4th place overall for his first participation and finished at the top of the trucks, about thirty minutes behind Pascal Thomasse.
It was a ggod day for Italy with the leg's victory for Simone Agazzi (ITA / HONDA) just ahead of Paolo Ceci (ITA / KTM) the big winner of this 10th Africa Eco Race. For his second participation, the favorite of this rally held his rank and was congratulated by the double winner Pal Anders Ullevalseter (NOR / KTM) who came to the finish line for the occasion. Forced to give up because of engine problems, the Norwegian could not compete with Ceci this year but looks forward to taking revenge next year.
Luis Oliveira (POR / PROTO) made it to cross the finish line alongside his compatriot Rui Oliveira (POR / YAMAHA). The two Portuguese take respectively 2nd and 3rd place of the overall ranking. A very good performance for Luis, youngest participant who at 25 makes a remarkable entry into the world of rallying.
Mathieu SERRADORI: "There will surely be more emotions tomorrow at Lac Rose, we had a wonderful race thanks to a great team without whom we would never have done it, three years ago I did not think that we could reach such a level especially against big competitors like Vasilyev. "
Pascal THOMASSE: "We came to play the win, to finish on the podium is a very good result, I do not make forecasts for next year, I'm too young!"
Guillaume Gomez: "It was still a great stage today, almost perfect for us, it feels good to finish like that, we lived three cursed days at the beginning, it's a shame, we immediately lost all chance to fight for the classification but since Mauritania we feel better. I want to congratulate Mathieu Serradori who did a wonderful job. "
Paolo CECI: "I'm very happy to win this year, it was a dream. It was really hard but I did a good job in navigation. I want to thank my wife Sarah who helped me a lot and supported me and of course my whole team too. I had a lot of pressure from the start in Monaco, it was an extraordinary race especially in Mauritania. "
Simone AGAZZI: "I am very happy to win the leg today and especially very happy for Paolo, it was a very good race for Italy and I will remember all my life the Mauritanian sand with its dunes so difficult to conquer. »
RESULTS 11th stage : Akjoujt / St Louis : 558km*
Car / Truck:
1. Guillaume Gomez / François Borsotto n°207 (FRA) 01 :36 :19
2. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) + 00 :01 :42
3. Pascal Thomasse / Pascal Larroque n°206 (FRA) + 00 :04 :40
1. Simone Agazzi n°120 (ITA) 02 :00 :39
2. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) + 00 :01 :59
2. Jonathan Blackburn n°128 (GBR) + 00 :06 :35
Car / Truck:
1. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) 40 :18 :50
2. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) + 01 :07 :31
3. Pascal Thomasse / Pascal Larroque n°206 (FRA) + 04 :10 :40
1. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) 47 :21 :53
2. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) + 01 :26 :20
3. Rui Oliveira n°115 (POR) + 06 :43 :27
Watch the Stage 11 video recap here!
10TH STAGE IN MAURITANIA : AMODJAR/AKJOUJT : 453 KM
The 10th edition of the Africa Eco Race is giving its best two days before the arrival in Dakar. After the most difficult stage yesterday, the sand is still a big part of the menu for the competitors today with a 453 kilometers leg. You had to be patient on arrival to see the fastest finish two hours behind schedule.
Mountains of dunes
It is in a valley with mountains and dunes scenery that competitors started this morning. Tired of the previous day's efforts, cars and bodies were spared with a later awakening thanks to a 45-kilometer short link before seeing the first bikes start at 8:43 am. And you had to be well awake from the beginning to tackle a big dune crossing from the first kilometers. A warm up for the continuation of the route more and more complicated in the middle of the mountains of dunes where it was necessary to follow the right direction in order not to be lost in a very soft sand. What a relief then to find the finish line at the entrance of the bivouac located a few kilometers from the city of Akjoujt.
The big win for Laure and Crespo, Ceci still there
"I don't know how we did it ...", these are the first words spoken by Dominique Laure and Christophe Crespo (FRA / OPTIMUS) coming out of their yellow buggy just behind the finish line. 6h21'19" of race on the most complicated day, 13'07" better than the leaders of the Serradori Racing Team, an exceptional performance for these amateurs for their first participation in the race. Mathieu Serradori and Fabian Lurquin (FRA-BEL / MCM) maintain their leadership with a 57'28" lead over Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS / MINI) who finished 4th today. Another buggy from MD Rallye Sport took 3rd place, Guillaume Gomez and François Borsotto (FRA / OPTIMUS) managed to reach the podium on this leg, quiet worthy of the biggest African rallies.
Third beautiful story of the day belongs to Loïc Bonnevie and Sophie Hamys (FRA / CAN-AM) who finishes 6th today. An achievement because it is the best performance ever made by an SSV on the Africa Eco Race since its beginning.
Another nice surprise for the trucks as Johannes Van De Laar (NL / DAF) finishes first of the category. He crossed the finish line just ahead of Gerard De Rooy (NL / IVECO) who stopped to let him pass, the fairplay of the Dutchman who wanted to thank his compatriot for taking it out of the sand during the leg.
In motorbikes, the wisdom and experience of Paolo Ceci (ITA / KTM) have struck again. The strong leader is aheaad of Simone Agazzi (ITA / HONDA). Luis Oliveira (POR / PROTO) is relegated 3rd because of a 23 minutes penalty. Another blow for Pal Anders Ullevalseter (NOR / KTM) who was forced to give up half-way because of a new engine problem.
Dominique LAURE: "It's hard to believe in this victory, it's a big surprise! We stopped twice in the sand without wasting too much time, this is my first rally and I feared the dunes. Yesterday we had troubles in the sand, so today we decided to go slowly and then we accelerated, it ends very well for us. We are finished with the dunes, we are very happy. "
Mathieu SERRADORI: "Where is Vasilyev ?! ... This one was not stolen! We helped each other all day with Fabian, it was the most difficult leg for us. We went into the dunes, we doubled Vasilyev who was stuck in the sand and we did not go out badly. Moreover the radio broke down in the end, we had to communicate in sign language up to the arrival."
Guillaume GOMEZ: "It was difficult ... very hard ... This leg surprised us, we did not expect it, we got stuck in the sand five or six times at the beginning and then we lost another 45 minutes a little further, we are tired by the stress but the ending is good."
Paolo CECI: "It was even harder than yesterday! There were a lot of difficult dunes to cross and a complicated navigation. I'm happy, the tough part is done, I just have to be carefull without making a mistake until Lac Rose now. "
Simone AGAZZI: "Today it was intense, very complicated in the sand but I enjoyed it."
Luis OLIVEIRA: "It was long and very difficult with complicated dunes to cross, but I'm doing well, I ride a lot with Ceci and I managed to finish the last 50 kilometers alone, I'm very happy. »
RESULTS 10th stage : Amodjar / Akjoujt : 453km*
Car / Truck:
1. Dominique Laure / Christophe Crespo n°213 (FRA) 06 :21 :19
2. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) +00 :13 :07
3. Guillaume Gomez / François Borsotto n°207 (FRA) +00 :22 :53
1. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) 06 :17 :50
2. Simone Agazzi n°120 (ITA) +00 :10 :46
3. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) +00 :19 :10
Car / Truck:
1. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) 38 :40 :49
2. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) +00 :57 :28
3. Pascal Thomasse / Pascal Larroque n°206 (FRA) +04 :07 :42
1. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) 45 :19 :15
2. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) +01 :09 :49
3. Rui Oliveira n°115 (POR) +06 :28 :57
* Provisional results, subject to changes in ranking after jury deliberation
Watch the Stage 10 video recap here!
9TH STAGE IN MAURITANIA: AMODJAR: 488 KM
VLADIMIR VASILYEV (RUS / MINI) STILL FIGHTING, ULLEVALSETER (NOR / KTM) ON TOP AGAIN
A new loop was on the program of the day allowing a little rest for the assistance and the organization who could stay at the bivouac all day long. Meanwhile, the competitors took part in a 340-kilometer stage through the prestigious dunes of Mauritania. A stage full of suspense and surprises.
The most difficult leg
Jean-Louis Schlesser announced last night, the 9th stage of this Africa Eco Race will be the hardest. This is the first time that the route goes so far in eastern Mauritania, with splendid dunes all around. It was difficult to find all the checkpoints in the middle of 100 kilometers of dunes. The whole while avoiding to get stuck in the sand, an exercise at the highest level as much in driving as in navigation.
Vasilyev is back, happy Ullevalseter
It is still a fierce duel between the crews number 201 and 202 that animated the Mauritanian tracks today. New leaders in the overall classification, Mathieu Serradori and Fabian Lurquin (FRA-BEL / MCM) have not managed the feat of doing a perfect leg. Because of three stops on the sand, they end up losing 30 minutes on Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS / MINI) the fastest today despite two punctures. The dunes spared no one, the SRT team preferred to ride carefully and were caught by the Russians at CP3. Starting 14th after a bad day yesterday, Vasilyev crosses the finish line just behind Serradori's black buggy and is now 48 minutes behind the French-Belgian crew.
The truck of Gerard De Rooy (NL / IVECO) which is doing very well in this Mauritanian week, takes second place just ahead of Serradori.
In the motorbikes, the passion of Pal Anders Ullevalseter (NOR / KTM) struck again. After a day of repairing the engine of his KTM, the 49 years old double winner of the event showed that he was still the fastest in the dunes. He won 13'36 "ahead of Simone Agazzi (ITA / HONDA), still happy to continue the adventure despite his 20th place in the overall standings, while young Luis Oliveira (POR / KTM) finishes third just ahead of Paolo Ceci (ITA / KTM). A great day for the Team Ullevalseter as the Norwegian champion's two protégés achieve their best rally performance on the most complicated leg. Marius Helmersen (NOR / KTM) takes 5th place ahead of his compatriot Felix Jensen (NOR / KTM) about thirty minutes from their master.
Vladimir VASILYEV: "We tried to attack but we had two punctures at kilometer 40 and 100 because of the very tricky sand. We still wanted to go as fast as possible. We will try to give everything tomorrow to catch up even if we know that it will be difficult to win this year. »
Gerard DE ROOY: "It was hard today with a lot of sand, we got stuck once, which made us lose about fifteen minutes. For the rest I did well in the dunes, we did a good job despite a navigation not always obvious because the wind has erased the tracks. It's been a long time since I found so much sand in the shoes! »
Mathieu SERRADORI: "It was hard physically and mentally today, we made some mistakes but we did not panic knowing that Vasilyev was further behind. It was complicated but it was a good day. »
Pal Anders ULLEVALSETER: "It was a great leg, especially when you start behind, it's easier to follow in the others. The dunes were incredible, it was difficult but I'm happy to be back and to continue the adventure. "
Simone AGAZZI: "Jean-Louis Schlesser said it was the toughest stage of the rally, so I'm very happy to finish 2nd, especially since I've prepared my motorbike myself, I'm very proud. »
Luis OLIVEIRA: "It was a good leg but very difficult with big dunes to cross, I opened the track during 50 kilometers then I fell two or three times so I preferred to let Agazzi pass and follow him until the finish line."
RESULTS 9th stage : Amodjar / Amodjar : 488km*
Car / Truck:
1. VASILYEV Vladimir / HILTSOV Konstantin n°201 (RUS) 04:00:47
2. DE ROOIJ Gerard/RODEWALD Darek/TORRELLARDONA Moi (NL) + 04:18:13
3. SERRADORI Mathieu / LURQUIN Fabian n°202 (FRA) + 04:18:35
1. ULLEVALSETER Pal Anders n°100 (NOR) 04 :25 :14
2. AGAZZI Simone n°120 (ITA) + 04:38:50
3. ANJOS OLIVEIRA Luis Miguel n°115 (POR) + 04:41:58
Car / Truck:
1. SERRADORI Mathieu / LURQUIN Fabian n°202 (FRA) 32:06:23
2. VASILYEV Vladimir / HILTSOV Konstantin n°201 (RUS) + 32:51:25
3. THOMASSE Pascal / LARROQUE Pascal n°206 (FRA) + 35:40:26
1. CECI Paolo n°101 (ITA) 39:01:25
2. ANJOS OLIVEIRA Luis Miguel n°114 (POR) + 39:52:04
3. BENKO Martin n°102 (SLK) + 43:35:02
* Provisional results, subject to changes in ranking after jury deliberation
Watch the STAGE 9 VIDEO RECAP HERE!
8TH STAGE IN MAURITANIA: CHAMI / AMODJAR: 477KM
MATHIEU SERRADORI (FRA / MCM) ON TOP, LUIS OLIVEIRA (POR / YAMAHA) STILL IN THE GAME.
After one night without being allowed to approach their vehicles, the competitors took part of the second lef of the marathon this morning. A 439 kilometers leg with beautiful dune passages under a blazing sun was waiting for them. The real difficulty of the Mauritanian sand and the pressure of the race have probably revealed the future winners of the 10th edition of the Africa Eco Race.
Find your trail
From the beginning of the stage, the participants found themselves on the off-piste with a first dune crossing as a warm-up. Then, they were able to regain speed by rolling alternately on sandy fast tracks. This third Mauritanian leg then revealed more and more complicated dune crossings. The best competitors came out with caution. But for everyone, the finish line offered itself as a deliverance after 900 kilometers of a two days race without assistance.
Serradori on a regular basis, Oliveira is doing the job
You had to be confident this morning to start and open the track. Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS / MINI) have therefore decided to be caught by Mathieu Serradori and Fabian Lurquin (FRA-BEL / MCM) after 80 kilometers of race in order to follow them in the dunes. The two cars then played a game to see who would dare to go first on the dunes. A game that ended up turning to the advantage of Serradori Racing Team who won the leg even if they got stuck in the sand a few kilometers from the finish line. A feat noticed by the organizer Jean-Louis Schlesser who came to congratulate them: "what is important is to win the second leg of the marathon, bravo!".
Less enthusiasm at the end for the Russians who finished 1h22'13" behind the new leaders overall. Not lucky with some engine belts troubles and a difficulty getting stuck in the sand, they finished 14th today. This stage was particularly successful for two crews of the MD Rallye Sport team. David Gérard and Pascal Delacour (FRA / OPTIMUS) take the 2nd place just ahead of Jean-Noël and Rabha Julien (FRA / OPTIMUS). The crazy "Roc and Gravillon" (David and Pascal) as well as "Penelope and Jolicoeur" (Rabha and Jean Noël), as they call themselves, were happy of their results after avoiding the dangers of the day. Unfortunately, this was not the case for their Team mates MD Rallye since Pascal Thomasse and Pascal Larroque put their Optimus buggy on one the sides. Guillaume Gomez and François Borsotto who have not much to hope have been the “Saint Bernard” of the desert by helping the two Pascal to get out of this bad step. Difficult stage also for Rémy Vauthier and Jean Brucy who broke a transmission and lost a lot of time to repair. Also Bad day to end with for Yves and Jean Fromont (FR / Buggy FROMONT) as, without the hydraulics, they will join the bivouac on the Balai truck.
In T2, Robert Szustkowski and Jaroslaw Kazberuk (POL / FORD) win with their Raptor once again. They beat Gilles Gard - Manuel Pinto (FR / MITSUBISHI) and Eric Gallant - Jean Marc Ancel (FR / TOYOTA). Overall, the Polish crew is now in 25th position.
In T3, after a day in hell yesterday because of fuel supply problems, Vincent Guindani's two CAN AMs - Stéphane Nguyen and Loïc Bonnevie - Sophie Hamys took revenge today, finishing 12th and 13th respectively on the stage. However, it is still Jean Hugues Moneyron and Thierry Maury (SEN / CAN AM) who lead the pack in this category with the 18th place overall.
Gerard De Rooy (NL / IVECO), still impressive with his truck, had fun in the dunes by driving faster than some cars and took 4th place. A podium of the day 100% Dutch since the leader of the general truck finished in front of the DAF of Johannes Van De Laar and the MERCEDES of Johan Elfrink, both separated of only 3 minutes.
In motorcycles, all riders in the race came out of the stage before dark. Some in pain in the image of Franco Picco (IT / KTM) arrived last good after having mechanized a long time on the track. On the other hand, Luis Oliveira (POR / YAMAHA) won his second stage with a 6'24 "lead over Paolo Ceci (ITA / KTM), who remains the overall leader, and Simone Agazzi (ITA / HONDA) also enjoyed himself. in the sand to finish third ahead of Rui Oliveira (POR / YAMAHA) who wins the category over 450 cc.
For the Veterans, with 8th place, Nathan Rafferty (USA / KTM) is the winner of the day in this category over 45 while in general, Henrik Rahm (SUE / KTM) has only 5 minutes of ahead of the American. In the challenge Motul Moto Malles, Jonathan Blackburn (GBR / KTM) is still leader with a superb 5th place provisional overall.
Mathieu SERRADORI: "We saw that Vasilyev let us pass before the dunes, he stopped on the side and opened the hood, so we had to go alone in front. It was physically hard, the sand was soft, it was hot and we tanked once. I was convinced that Vasilyev was leading in the middle of the dunes, it was really rough. "
David GERARD: "We're happy, and for Mathieu too! It was complicated, very tricky in navigation and difficult with the camel grass on the last part. We got stuck once but Pascal was very efficient in getting us out and he lost his phone! We paid attention to the car because we lost a ski yesterday and this morning the mechanics had only 10 minutes to repair our belts, they were amazing. "
Jean-Noël JULIEN: "We did it slowly but surely, it was a difficult leg, we had to pay attention to the car, but we drove without putting pressure on it. Last dunes, we stayed calm, it was not simple but full with emotions."
Vladimir VASILYEV: "We had problems with engine belts and we lost a lot of time to repair, and then we got stuck in the end in the camel grass, it was very difficult. «
Watch the Stage 8 Video Recap HERE!
7TH STAGE IN MAURITANIA : CHAMI / CHAMI : 486 KM
VLADIMIR VASILYEV (RUS/MINI) AND PAOLO CECI (ITA/KTM) BIG LEADERS
The 2nd Mauritanian day launched the famous marathon stage of the 10th edition of the Africa Eco Race. In the first part of this event, the competitors could enjoy a 486 kilometers leg. A day off for the mechanics who does not have the right to approach the cars staying in a "parc fermé" until the start of the 2nd part of the stage tomorrow.
Do not take a risk
A few hundred meters from the bivouac, the first part of this special started with a straight line of speed. A slightly sandy fast track sent the competitors to a first easy dune crossing before coming back on very fast tracks with a tricky navigation. The real difficulty remained in the last thirty kilometers with a dunes and camel grass to avoid in order not to damage the vehicles. A complicated leg where caution was required before reaching the "parc fermé" in the middle of a 900 kilometers marathon.
A big fight
As announced, the Vasilyev-Serradori duel made the Mauritanian tracks vibrate on this sandy stage. Mathieu Serradori and Fabian Lurquin (FRA / MCM) had the heavy task of opening on a rolling but tricky course in navigation. A difficulty that did not slow down Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS / MINI). The defending champions managed to pass the French-Belgian team for another intense duel on a good part of the stage.
The Russians finally won two minutes before their rivals. A little mistake on the sand later, the buggy of Guillaume Gomez and François Borsotto (FRA / OPTIMUS) which took the 3rd place of the day with 30'27 "of delay. Pascal Thomasse and Pascal Larroque (FRA / OPTIMUS) remain comfortably on the 3rd step of the podium overall, finishing 4th today.
In T2, the special stage which was quite fast with rolling sectors made the fortunes of the powerful FORD Raptors as Robert Szustkowski and Jaroslaw Kazberuk (POL / FORD) finished in 28th position, ahead of Alexey Titov and Andrey Rusov (RUS / FORD), on the same vehicle. In the T3, the former biker Jean Hugues Moneyron (SEN / CAN AM), co-driven by Thierry Maury, who was on the first edition of the Africa Eco Race on two wheels, stroke hard today. He finished in 24th place at the scratch and was ahead of the other two SSV CAN AM team Senegal Kamil Rahal - Thierry Sanchez and Jean Claude Ruffier - Jerome Bos.
Still the first truck on the race, Gerard De Rooy (NL / IVECO) had to change a tire during the leg and finished 7th while retaining his 5th place overall. The Dutch driver finishes ahead of Miklos Kovacs, Peter Czegledi and Lazslo Acs (HUN / SCANIA) more and more present in the front positions and Tomas Tomecek (CZE / TATRA), still performing well, although he is driving and navigating alone . It is more than a challenge for him as this year, the navigation is particularly hard. In general, although the Czech lost a little time on the Hungarian, Tomecek remains 2nd with a little less than an hour ahead of Kovacs.
In motorcycles, Paolo Ceci (ITA / KTM) let his experience speak and managed to win in front of Dmitry Agoshkov (RUS / KTM) who completely evolved since he got in Mauritania. The young Luis Oliveira (POR / YAMAHA) crosses the finish line just behind the Italian but takes the 3rd place because of a missing waypoint which costs him 20 minutes of penalties.
Martin Benko (SLK / KTM) finished in a good 4th place in front of the three youngsters, Felix Jensen (NOR / KTM), Julien Sanchez (FRA / KTM) and Marius Helmersen (NOR / KTM), first in + 450 cm3.
Another hard day for double winner Pal Anders Ullevalseter (NOR / KTM) who started the stage late because of a mechanical problem this morning. Unfortunately he could only ride a few kilometers before returning to the bivouac.
Vladimir VASILYEV: "It was a good leg, we drove very well even though the fight was intense, everything is going well with the car, we are ready for tomorrow."
Mathieu SERRADORI: "We managed to handle the first day of the 900 kilometers without assistance. We started with a good rythm, Vasilyev then caught us and we did not let him go. Fabian did a very good navigation and we did not have any problems, I thought we could drive faster than him but we drove side by side at 200 km / h without being able to overtake them. "
Guillaume GOMEZ: "Today we got stuck once but I did not ride in the sand for a year ... I lost about twenty minutes to get out with the sandblasting plates. It is my first rally with François, he brings me a lot and calms me, he makes a very good navigation and helps me to find the tracks. Now I would like to do at least a scratch before the finish in Dakar. "
Paolo CECI: "It was very fast today with a few dunes, I had a lot of fun, I drove with Luis for more than 400 kilometers, it's very good if we can continue the adventure like that. I knew that Pal had mechanical problems, it's a real shame. My bike is fine, I'm just going to change the air filter to be ready for tomorrow. "
Dmitry AGOSHKOV: "It was a long leg with a complicated navigation, there was a lot of sand just before the finish line but I really like it!"
Luis OLIVEIRA: "It was a good day with a complicated navigation, it was still nice to open the track, I had to stay focused but I missed a waypoint, I'm ready for tomorrow. »
RESULTS 7th stage : Chami / Chami : 508km*
Car / Truck:
1. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) 03 :53 :48
2. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) + 00 :02 :09
3. Guillaume Gomez / François Borsotto n°207 (FRA) + 00 :30 :27
1. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) 05 :20 :22
2. Dmitry Agoshkov n°163 (RUS) + 00 :01 :05
3. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) + 00 :01 :57
Car / Truck:
1. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) 22 :51 :28
2. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) + 00 :16 :23
3. Pascal Thomasse / Pascal Larroque n°206 (FRA) + 02 :02 :06
1. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) 28 :57 :13
2. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) + 00 :58 :45
3. Martin Benko n°102 (SLK) + 03 :21 :17
* Provisional results, subject to changes in ranking after jury deliberationy
Complete ranking on this link : http://www.africarace.com/fr
WATCH THE STAGE 7 RECAP VIDEO HERE!
6TH STAGE FROM MOROCCO TO MAURITANIA: DAKHLA / CHAMI: 650 KM
MATHIEU SERRADORI (FRA / MCM) AND
LUIS OLIVEIRA (POR / YAMAHA) ACCELERATE
After a very early morning waking up at 4am, all participants had to take the road by night for a 429 kilometers liaison with the crossing of the border. The 10th edition of the Africa Eco Race continues its journey in Mauritania where a first leg ending in the dunes after 211 kilometers.
All the vehicles were able to reach Mauritania this morning without any trouble. A very good organization that even allowed the competitors to rest once they got to the start of the leg two hours before the race. A route that gave way to off-piste and sand. Leaving Boulanouar, the competitors quickly joined the mine's railway before arriving at a succession of off-piste tracks. A crossing of dune just before the arrival gave them a little taste of what will wait for them in the coming days and especially tomorrow with the marathon stage...
Straight on the dunes
It's a black buggy that has emerged first in the dune just before the finish line. Mathieu Serradori and Fabian Lurquin (FRA / MCM) were the fastest to win this leg, finishing 2'21" behind leaders Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS / MINI). With an average speed of 144 km / h, the French have still shown that they have a very good car. It was a very good day for Guillaume Gomez and François Borsotto (FRA / OPTIMUS) enjoying this stage, making their best performance on this leg. The crew of the team MD Rallye Sport takes the 3rd place and finally managed to solve all its mechanical problems to get back on the competition. A playground where the Optimus are going very weel as Pascal Thomasse and Pascal Larroque (FRA / OPTIMUS) had fun even if the dunes still worry the pilot, wishing to avoid to be trapped on the sand... They retain their 3rd place overall 1h30 ahead of Remy Vauthier and Jean Brucy (SUI / OPTIMUS).
The first truck remains the one of Gerard De Rooy (NL / IVECO) finishing 12th and still 5th overall.
In motorcycles, Luis Oliveira (POR / YAMAHA) continues to impress by being the fastest today. He won in 1h50'2" followed by Paolo Ceci (ITA / KTM) and Pal Anders Ullevalseter (NOR / KTM) .The three men who started with a two minute gap at the start came out of the last dune almost together. The Mauritanian fight is launched!
Mathieu SERRADORI: "I do not know if it is a good operation to win today and open the marathon tomorrow ... But it was necessary to avoid wasting time with Vasilyev who followed his strategy keeping his advance. It was a warm-up leg here and everything went well, we are happy, Vasilyev let us pass, it will be difficult to make the opening in the dunes ... "
Vladimir VASILYEV: "It was a strategic race but it was a leg for big engines with a straight line. For the marathon it will be necessary to keep a cool head without making mistakes for the car and for tires because we only have three spare wheels! "
Guillaume GOMEZ: "We finally managed to do everything we could today, the mechanics, the navigation and the pleasure to pass the other cars. We drove without taking any risk, the navigation was not complicated but we had to stay focused. "
Gerard DE ROOY: "It was a long day that started very early but crossing the border was quite fast, so we had to wait arriving early at the start of the leg. Some buggies doubled me, I was not the fastest but I will go slowly tomorrow, be careful and enjoy the sand. "
Luis OLIVEIRA: "I drove quietly behind the guys then I accelerated to attack midway and managed to pass them just before the arrival. The sand in the dunes was very soft, I still could learn today with this 1st Mauritanian leg. "
Paolo CECI: "It was almost like last year, I drove fast on the whole stage, I'm happy to ride with Pal and Luis. Tomorrow it will be complicated, he we will have to ride carefully without damaging the bike in the marathon event, and of course, not get lost. "
Pal Anders ULLEVALSETER: "It was nice today, very fast all the way and not complicated in navigation. Tomorrow it will be very difficult, I hope nobody will get through but me!"
Ranking stage 6 Dakhla / Chami : 650km*
Car / Truck :
1. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) 01 :27 :26
2. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) + 00 :02 :21
3. Guillaume Gomez / François Borsotto n°207 (FRA) + 00 :04 :32
1. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) 01 :50 :26
2. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) + 00 :02 :12
3. Pal Anders Ullevalseter n°100 (NOR) + 00 :04 :14
Sans titre 1.jpg
Car / Truck :
1. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) 18 :57 :40
2. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) + 00 :14 :14
3. Pascal Thomasse / Pascal Larroque n°206 (FRA) + 01 :29 :48
1. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) 23 :36 :51
2. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) + 00 :56 :48
3. Rui Oliveira n°115 (POR) + 02 :56 :54
Sans titre 2.jpg
Complete ranking on this link : http://www.africarace.com/en
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE RECAP VIDEO!
5TH STAGE IN MOROCCO
VASILYEV (RUS/MINI) STRIKES AGAIN, ULLEVALSETER (NOR/KTM) BACK ON TRACK
Last leg in Morocco
Once again, the 10th edition of the Africa Eco Race gave the competitors a new route. The day started with a light rain which enabled the dust to stay down for the rest of the day. A 436 kilometers leg brought the rally to Bir Anzaran passing the mighty phosphate conveyor belt of Laayoune. The track was very fast with some complicated navigation points. The competitors went straight south and finished the day with 174 kilometers liaison before reaching Dakhla for a well deserved rest day.
With an average speed of 145 km/h, Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS / MINI) didn't waste any time! On this very fast leg, today's winners secured their slight lead on the overall standings before attacking the dunes of Mauritania. Mathieu Serradori and Fabian Lurquin (FRA / MCM) finished 2nd in 3h05'35, or 6'12" back from the leaders. After the first week they are 16'35" down in the overall ranking but consolidate their lead over Pascal Thomasse and Pascal Larroque (FRA / OPTIMUS), finishing 6th today. Patrick Martin and Didier Bigot (FRA / MERCEDES) took 3rd place ahead of Gerard De Rooy, Darek Rodewald and Moi Torrellardona (NL / IVECO), still the first truck of the competition. For his first participation, 10 years after his father, Gerard De Rooy will be able to rest peacefully with the 5th place overall.
In the motorcycles, Pål Anders Ullevalseter (NOR / KTM) was pleased despite his disappointing day yesterday because of a mechanical issue that forced him to abandon the leg. Although the battle for victory is over for him, the double winner of the Africa Eco Race had a lot of fun starting last and passing the other riders. He achieved the best time of the day in 4h00'11", 4 minutes faster than Paolo Ceci (ITA / KTM). The young Luis Oliveira (POR / YAMAHA) is still on the podium even if he loses a few minutes over Paolo Ceci still in the lead.
To concluded this first week, the couple Loic Bonnevie and Sophie Hamys (FRA / CAN AM) in SSV managed to climbs into the top 20 by taking the 18th place in the overall ranking.
The rest day have arrived, it is now time to take care of the vehicles and the bodies in Dakhla, the famous kitesurfing spot, where the bivouac stays on the breathtaking beach.
Vladimir VASILYEV : It was mainly a straight line, it was very fast, it went well for us, as a foretaste of the rest day!
Mathieu Serradori : "We drove fast but could not get back to Vasilyev, maybe we did not follow the good tracks at the beginning, we did not expect to waste time today but they were very strong. We are still fighting for the win with a good car in good conditions. It was our goal to approach Mauritania 15 minutes from the leader, it is the case, we are happy."
Pal Anders ULLEVALSETER : "I started last and I had a lot of fun catching up and overtaking lots of competitors to win. I'm disappointed for not being in the fight for the win anymore but I managed to take a good time. Now I'm going to take some rest and will enjoy spending some time with the other competitors tomorrow. "
Paolo CECI : "It was very fast today, it went well for me in navigation, I'm happy with my ride. It's a shame for my fight with Pål but it does not change anything for me, I have to stay focused, the road is still long. Now I can go and take some rest at the hotel, the bike is amazing. "
Luis OLIVEIRA : "It was difficult for me with the navigation but it was very fast, some waypoints were hard to find but it was a good day and the adventure continues."
RESULTS 5th Stage : Fort Chacal / Dakhla : 631km*
Car / Truck:
1. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) 02 :59 :23
2. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) + 00 :06 :12
3. Patrick Martin / Didier Bigot n°205 (FRA) + 00 :35 :03
1. Pal Anders Ullevalseter n°100 (NOR) 04 :00 :11
2. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) + 00 :04 :03
3. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) + 00 :19 :05
1. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) 17 :27 :53
2. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) + 00 :16 :35
3. Pascal Thomasse / Pascal Larroque n°206 (FRA) + 01 :25 :02
1. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) 21 :44 :13
2. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) + 00 :59 :00
3. Rui Oliveira n°115 (POR) + 02 :41 :30
* Provisional results, subject to changes in ranking after jury deliberationy
WATCH THE STAGE 5 RECAP VIDEO HERE!
4TH STAGE IN MOROCCO : ASSA / FORT CHACAL : 499 KM
The fourth day in Morocco is a first with the longest leg of the Africa Eco Race since its creation. 497 kilometers with fast tracks and some sand. It's been a big fight in cars between Vasilyev and Serradori, in motorbikes Paolo Ceci settles his leadership.
The west rush
For this big premiere, the competitors drove close to the Oued Draa for a few kilometers on a sandy part before the rocks where the navigators had to be very focused. Ater M'seied a wide track brought them to the southern Moroccan desert. The vehicles got into some more fast tracks in the heart of massive plains with no much landscape and thus not many visual point to navigate with. It is a very complicated section with many possibilities to go in the wrong direction. As they got closer to the Oued Hamra things went harder. Totally flooded a year ago, all the tracks have disappeared, it has therefore become an off road section not easy to escape. Finally, they had to come across a dune before finishing the stage on e very fast wide track all the way to the bivouac in Fort Chacal.
Vasilyev as boss, Ullevalseter out
The long awaited auto duel of this edition is launched. The defending crew Vladimir Vasilyev - Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS / MINI) and Mathieu Serradori - Fabian Lurquin (FRA / MCM) have engaged in an intense battle full of twists and turns. Leading, the French had to slow down in the last part of the leg because of a power steering problem. The Russians were able to take advantage but three punctures made them waste time and the two cars passed each other before Vasilyev won the final sprint 3'21" before Serradori. Pascal Thomasse and Pascal Larroque (FRA / OPTIMUS) confirm their 3rd place overall by finishing just in front of their partners at MD Rally Sport Guillaume Gomez and François Borsotto (FRA / OPTIMUS) who managed to finish the leg without mechanical problems.
In the motorbikes, very difficult day for the double winner Pal Anders Ullevalseter (NOR / KTM). His chances of winning this year are compromised because of a fuel tank problem that forced him to abandon the leg after 100 kilometers of racing. Paolo Ceci takes the opportunity to consolidate his leading position by winning the stage of the day 8'52" ahead of Luis Oliveira (POR / YAMAHA). A good operation for the Portuguese who takes the 2nd place in the overall ranking.
They said :
Vladimir VASILYEV: "It was a great leg but Jean-Louis Schlesser did not spare us the punctures ... After three tires dead we did not have a spare wheel anymore! It was difficult especially at the end in navigation, we still have two minutes ahead of Serradori, it was a great fight today, we did not stop crossing each other, it was great. "
Mathieu SERRADORI: "We opened the track with a good navigation before engaging in a great battle with the Russians, it was very intense! After 414 kilometers of racing I had no more power steering, it was very difficult to turn the wheels in the dunes but we wanted to finish and had to slow down. Finally we are doing very well thanks to Vasilyev's misadventures. Now we will have to repair and come back tomorrow."
Gerard DE ROOY: "It was a long day but a very nice leg with a lot of navigation, I got lost once, the truck was fine, I drove slowly knowing that I did not have anyone behind me. I preferred to be careful. "
Paolo CECI: "It was a difficult leg with the navigation but I did not make any mistake, I drove with Oliveira up to 30 kilometers from the finish, physically I feel good but I'm disappointed because I could not fight with Ullevalseter. "
Luis OLIVEIRA: "I'm still learning, it was a good day for me, I passed Ceci after 40 kilometers of racing and I opened the track for a while then I got lost and ended up finding Paolo's tracks until the finish. "
RESULTS 4th stage : Assa / Fort Chacal : 499km
Car / Truck:
1. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) 04 :47 :09
2. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) + 00 :03 :21
3. Pascal Thomasse / Pascal Larroque n°206 (FRA) + 00 :09 :28
1. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) 05 :38 :57
2. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) + 00 :08 :52
3. Simone Agazzi n°120 (ITA) + 00 :35 :02
Car / Truck:
1. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) 14 :28 :30
2. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) + 00 :10 :23
3. Pascal Thomasse / Pascal Larroque n°206 (FRA) + 00 :43 :56
1. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) 17 :39 :59
2. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) + 00 :43 :58
3. Rui Oliveira n°115 (POR) + 02 :19 :52
Recap Video Here!
3RD DAY IN MAROCCO : AGDAL / ASSA : 421 KM
The 10th edition of the Africa Eco Race caravan is still going south in Morocco. On this January 4th 2018 the leg starts directly at the bivouac and 400 kilometers later they reach Assa where awaits them a 21 kilometers to the bivouac. Speed was the order of the day to the delight of Mathieu Serradori in the cars and in the motorcycles it was a great first for Luis Oliveira.
A fast track
After a short night for many competitors who had a very tough day yesterday, it felt nice to have more time this morning to get prepared for the leg starting just outside the bivouac. The leg started with a nice fast track at the foot of the Anti-Atlas mountains. Later the cairns helped them follow the track so they can speed during a long part of the leg. Throughout the day, the competitors passed many military outposts but also many dried lakes. It was near the end of the stage where the navigation got a bit more complicated as they headed back toward the Oued Draa. The finish was set up on the outskirts of the town of Assa.
Serradori , the surprise Oliveira
Mathieu Serradori and Fabian Luquin's car was the fastest on this particularly tough leg. Starting two minutes after leaders Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS / MINI), the SRT crew crossed the finish line a few seconds behind their main competitors. A tight duel between the two cars that remained in contact a good part of the race. The Russians were still happy to congratulate them just after a tire puncture on the finish line. The result of 400 kilometers of fast stony tracks but tough on the tires. That's what caused some problems to Pascal Thomasse and Pascal Larroque (OPTIMUS) who lost time to change a wheel and finished 4th. 3rd place went to Remy Vauthier and Jean Brucy (SUI / OPTIMUS).
The first truck of the day also had to replace a wheel just behind the finish line. Gerard De Rooy (NL / IVECO) finished 5th, frustrated for not being faster but gaining two places overall.
In motorbikes, after 4h52'16" of race, Luis Oliveira (POR / YAMAHA) arrived second of the stage. At 25, he came with his father, who acts as a mechanic for his first rally-raid and is already on his way with a 3rd place overall, he finished 26" behind of Paolo Ceci (ITA / KTM) who wan the stage and takes the lead 2'26" in front of Pål Anders Ullevalseter (NOR / KTM).
Poor Elisabete Jacinto (POR / MAN) only female truck driver is forced to give up. The regular actress in the Africa Eco Race broke her differential and does not have the spare part in her assistance truck. It is very sad that she leaves the Africa Eco Race before joining Mauritania, as last year when her engine broke during the 2nd stage.
They said :
Mathieu SERRADORI: "We are happy, it was a great leg, Fabian navigated very well which allowed us to catch up with Vasilyev, there was a good fight. We will open tomorrow, I have confidence in my co-pilot so that's not a problem. "
Vladimir VASILYEV: "Today it was particularly tricky because of pebbles, it was like being on Mars, we like our rivalry with Serradori, we are fighting on the track but we are friends."
Rémy VAUTHIER: "We drove fast but it was not a good race, the Africa Eco Race is not really easy, besides I have the flu but we manage to finish 3rd today, I'm happy with it."
Pascal THOMASSE: "These stony tracks were not fun... and as we did not change our tires yesterday, I wanted to be careful but 50 kilometers from the finish we had problems with one wheel. I prefer the 100-kilometer stages at my age! "
Gérard DE ROOY: "It was a great leg, very long, we had a slow puncture a little before the finish but we were able to drive and continue to the end, slowing down. It will be difficult to top the overall ranking but I keep the podium in mind. "
Luis OLIVEIRA: "It was a quick and difficult leg for me, I'm learning every day, it means a lot to me to have passed the two best drivers, I made a mistake, Paolo came back faster and I followed him to the finish. "
Paolo CECI: "For 200 kilometers until the refueling it was very monotonous, then there was a lot of navigation, it was easy to make mistakes. Today it was flat and stony, I preferred the dunes yesterday. The motorbike is doing very well and I am confident. "
Pål Anders ULLEVALSETER: "There were a lot of stones, it was very hard physically, I got lost twice but I managed to get back into the race to keep in touch with Paolo. I hope to feel better and better day after day. "
Car / Truck:
1. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) 03 :48 :12
2. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) + 00 :00 :22
3. Remy Vauthier / Jean Brucy n°209 (SUI) + 00 :13 :33
1. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) 04 :54 :56
2. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) + 00 :01 :57
3. Pal Anders Ullevalseter n°100 (NOR) + 00 :04 :29
1. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) 09 :41 :21
2. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) + 00 :07 :02
3. Pascal Thomasse / Pascal Larroque n°206 (FRA) + 00 :34 :28
1. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) 12 :06 :05
1. Pal Anders Ullevalseter n°100 (NOR) + 00 :02 :29
3. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) + 00 :32 :43
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE STAGE 3 RECAP VIDEO!
2ND DAY IN MOROCCO
DAR KAOURA / AGDAL: 478 KM
VLADIMIR VASILYEV (RUS / MINI) ON TOP, PAL ANDERS ULLEVALSETER (NOR / KTM) FEELING GOOD
The 2nd Moroccan day offered to the competitors the real beginning of the race. On the program a 443 kilometers leg between dunes and stony tracks under a summer sun, enough to disturb the ranking and reveal the favorites of this 10th edition of the Africa Eco Race.
After a short 28-kilometer run that saw the first bike leaving at 7:15 this morning, each competitor joined Merzouga to start the leg. The famous dunes close to the Erg Chebbi offered both navigation and driving difficulties, especially on the sand particularly soft because of the heat. Off-piste, 7 dune crossings, rolling tracks... The two highlights of the day will be the crossing of the Oued Draa, which is usually soft at this time of the year, and the Erg Chegaga which is often tricky.
Just past the finish line, the winners of the day and overall leaders Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov threw themselves on bottles of water. Under the eyes of the organizer, they were congratulated by all their staff and some spectators after 4h50'25 of race. "You did not even burst, bravo! ", said Jean-Louis Schlesser the former teammate of the best co-driver of the day. Very nice 2nd place for Mathieu Serradori and Fabian Lurquin (FRA / MCM) who finished 1'56 after the winner of the day. Third place goes to Pascal Thomasse and Pascal Larroque (FRA / OPTIMUS) 14'26 off the lead. A very good day for Serradori Racing Team taking the 2nd place overall. Harder day for Gerard De Rooy, Darek Rodewald and Moi Torrellardona (IVECO) who reach the finishing line 1h05'46" behind the leader and falls off the podium. In the motorbikes category, the race remains tight with an arrival within seconds in between Pål Anders Ullevalseter (NOR / KTM) and Paolo Ceci (ITA / KTM). The fight promises to be intense between the two competitors as Ullevalseter takes the lead of the overall standings 3 seconds ahead of his main rival for the final victory. For the less fortunate, the evening also looks very long ... The day's leg revealed everything you can find in the hardest routes in the greatest African raids. They will reach the bivouac very late at night after a very educational experience navigating in the dunes.
Pål Anders ULLEVALSETER: "It was a great leg with lots of dunes, I caught up with Paolo, thanks to his navigation mistakes, I tried to overtake him but it took me a lot of time because he's really really fast."
Paolo CECI: "It was incredible, there was everything in this leg: sand, navigation, fast tracks ... all that can be found in Morocco. Today Pal caught me 30 kilometers from the finish and we drove together. The fight is not over! "
Vladimir VASILYEV: "We're tired, it was a long leg, it's been a long time since we had any, in the dunes it was not easy, the sand was soft and it was brittle. It was a wonderful stage with interesting tracks, thank you Jean-Louis! "
Pascal Thomasse: "Why do we do this? ... Now it's better but 100 kilometers from here I would have preferred to be on my couch! In the dunes it was long, hard and very brittle. I took a normal rhythm to avoid damaging the car, we end the day at our place, without making any mistakes. "
Mathieu Serradori: "We started on a good rhythm, Fabian did a great job, it was very technical navigation, we had a good day with a speed around 200 km/h! "
Second Stage : Dar Kaoura / Agdal : 478 km
Car / Truck:
1. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) 04 :50 :25
2. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) + 00 :01 :56
3. Pascal Thomasse / Pascal Larroque n°206 (FRA) + 00 :14 :26
1. Pal Anders Ullevalseter n°100 (NOR) 05 :52 :43
2. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) + 00 :02 :22
3. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) + 00 :27 :32
Car / Truck:
1. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) 05 :52 :47
2. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) + 00 :07 :24
3. Pascal Thomasse / Pascal Larroque n°206 (FRA) + 00 :17 :32
1. Pal Anders Ullevalseter n°100 (NOR) 07 :09 :09
2. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) + 00 :00 :03
3. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) + 00 :34 :43
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE STAGE 2 RECAP VIDEO!
FIRST STAGE IN MOROCCO
VLADIMIR VASILYEV AND PAOLO CECI FIRST LEADERS !
After a busy day, celebrating New Year's eve on a rough sea, all the participants in the 10th edition of the Africa Eco Race arrived at the port of Nador at the end of the day on Tuesday 2 January 2018. A tough first day for all competitors with a special stage before reaching the bivouac 500 kilometers later.
After the obligatory passage through Moroccan customs, the caravan of the Africa Eco Race 2018 was able to benefit from the first light of the sun around a Moroccan breakfast orgqnised by the governor of Nador. All vehicles then took to the road to join the start of the race with the mountains of the Anti-Atlas as a backdrop. 51 kilometers of liaison before starting the race to warm up the engines under a cloudless sky... Until 9:22 am local time when the first bike Pal Anders Ullevalseter (NOR) made his mark on the route drawn by René Metge.
With a special stage of 92 kilometers to warm up for both drivers and navigators. On a gravelly rugged track, the 91 vehicles had to be wary of a complicated navigation between the wadis and the small, almost invisible tracks. A win today for the 2018 favorite and winners last year, Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS). A good stage also for the Optimus of Pascal Thomasse and Pascal Larroque who take 2nd place. The good news story of the day comes from a brand new participant, the team of Gerard De Rooy (NL) driving his truck Iveco takes 3rd place in the standings, just ahead of Mathieu Serradori and Fabian Lurquin. Mechanical problems for Guillaume Gomez and François Borsotto (MD Rallye Sport) who still managed to cross the finish line albeit very slowly. Amongst other competitors on four wheels, special mention for the Ford of Alexey Titov and Andrey Rosov (RUS) first series vehicles. Finally in the SSV category, it was the Italians Stefano Pelloni and Gianluca Grociani who were the fastest, arriving 25 minutes after the winner of the day. In the motorbike category no surprises. Paolo Ceci (ITA) left 2nd and finished 1st ahead of Pal Anders Ullevalster and Dmitry Agoshkov (RUS).
Vladimir Vasilyev : "This first stage went well, the Moroccan tracks are excellent, it's been a long time since we have competed, so it was a very good warm-up, the car is running well, we were fastest but at the same time careful. "
Pascal Thomasse : "It was rural land with lots of pebbles, we enjoyed the speed and the navigation was very good despite two small mistakes that made us lose about ten seconds. The car is perfect !"
Gerard De Rooy : "It was a very nice special stage, first we had to warm up on the first kilometers with this new truck, then the dust added some difficulties but the tracks are great, I'm really happy to be here in Africa. "
Paolo Ceci : "The navigation was difficult but I managed to overtake Ullevalseter midway and then we drove together, I'm very happy with my race."
1st Stage in Morocco: Nador / Dar Kaoura: 92 KM
Car / Truck:
Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) 00 :57 :22
Pascal Thomasse / Pascal Larroque n°206 (FRA) + 00 :03 :06
Gerard De Rooy/ Darek Rodewalde / Moi Torrellardona n°400 (NLD) + 00 :05 :25
Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) 1 :14 :07
Pal Anders Ullevalster n° 100 (NOR) + 00 :02 :19
Dmitry Agoshkov n°163 (RUS) + 00 :03 :53
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE STAGE 1 RECAP VIDEO!
AND THEY'RE OFF !! 10TH AFRICA ECO RACE GETS UNDERWAY
"When Jean Louis asked me to come, I accepted at once." Jean Marie Bigard exchanged his comedian hat for that of rally raid superfan this morning. He started by discussing his charitable association "bouchons d'amour" which collects plastic bottle tops in order to raise money for building schools in Africa. "The Africa Eco Race is going to bring me home a whole lorry load of bottle tops! It's the best way to recycle and to build new schools." The comedian was there as much for his charity as to live out a dream. He adores the racing trucks: "I actually met Gerard de Rooy (winner of the Dakar) - I'm so excited!" For two hours, he stood and watched the competitors roll out one by one, a huge smile on his face.
35 motorbikes, 110 cars and 34 trucks will cross Morocco and Mauritania before crossing the finish line at Lac Rose in Senegal on Sunday 14th January. 91 of them will actually be racing: 34 bikes, 1 quad, 35 cars, 9 SSV and 12 trucks. They represent 27 different nationalities. They were all excited and emotional at the start - last chance to say goodbye to family and friends, take a few photos they were off. Next stop Sete, where they will board the boat for Morocco. There were smiles all round and the pride in being able to take part in adventure like this was evident.
"Let's do this!" exclaimed Julie Vanneken as she mounted the starting block for her second time a bike rider in this race. Potential winner of the car category, Mathieu Serradori and Fabian Lurquin.
Matthieu Serradori (MCM) is keen to get to Morocco: "We're ready, we've been working towards this for a year. Only two days on the boat and the real work will begin." Before that, however, everyone got their moment in the sun in Monaco, joined together with one common goal: to get to Dakar in 2 weeks time.
Jean Louis Schlesser - organizer: "This morning in Monaco was incredible. We witnessed yet another race start from Monaco, making sure everything possible is done to ensure everyone gets to Sete for the boat this afternoon. After that, we will celebrate bringing in the New Year together."
Rene Metge - Sport Director: "It is always a pleasure to see all the competitors gathered here. This year they are going to experience a particularly difficult course, lots of navigation and some spectacular landscapes.
Catch the action at AfricaRace.com