TUESDAY 6TH OF JANUARY STAGE # 7: CHAMI / AZOUGUI: 433 km START FROM THE BIVOUAC STAGE: CHAMI / AMSAGA: 433 km FINISH AT THE BIVOUAC
The gods of offroad rallies decided the race could continue on Tuesday. The 433km long stage between Chami and Amsaga was delayed by an hour, enough time for the helicopters to arrive in Nouadibou. As planned and announced by René METGE, this Mauritanian stage was very selective and many participants will therefore arrive at the bivouac during the night.
Bikes:Pal Andres ULLEVALSETER is untouchable on this 7th edition of the Africa Eco Race as the Norwegian won the 6th stage of the event, making it his 5th success since the start of the race. The Viking has had a carefree stage and finished 7'07 '' ahead of Austria's Robert THEURETZBACHER, more and more comfortable in the difficulties of Africa. Namibian Ingo WALDSCHMIDT, was a solid 3rd place 29’45’’ behind the leader. Further behind, the Frenchman Norbert Dubois finished 4th at 41'02'', his 660 KTM fighting against the 450 cc of his opponents while John Olav Lindtjørn from Norway and Belgian Gilles Vanderweyen 5th and 6th respectively , are separated by only 26 seconds.
Special mention for the Franco-Senegalese Julien SANCHEZ, finishing 9th and forced to do the last 50 kilometers of the stage with a damaged handlebar and support on his machine, all fixed together with a strap. Also, a very nice performance from Russian biker Anastasiya NIFONTOVA, 10th of the day but most importantly 6th in the general ranks for the moment.
Cars:At 19:00 (8:00 p.m. Paris time) , only 16 cars and trucks made it to the magnificent bivouac Azougui out of 35 starters in the morning. Meaning the day was quite tough. Moreover, this first Mauritanian stage was the « comeback » one for the Buggies, with the 2nd stage victory of Mathieu SERRADORI and his X18s PREDATOR, 19’26’’ in front of Jean Antoine SABATIER’s BUGGA ONE.
Still on the Auto’s side, a very nice performance from Belgium’s Irwin IMSCHOOT who placed his TOYOTA Hilux in 3rd position, 39’50’’ behind the winner of Tuesday's stage.
Jacky LOOMANS, who got stuck quite badly and therefore took over an hour to get out - bad news for the ex leader of the general standings, as he is now in 5th position in the general standings, 49’36’’ behing the new leader. However, with his performance today, Mathieu SERRADORI is now leading the Auto Category with a confortable advance of over 30 minutes on SABATIER and 41 minutes on SAZONOV.
Trucks: However the real stars of this running of the Africa Eco Race 2015 comes from the trucks - for the first time since the start of the event in 2009, one of its mastodons of the desert is in the lead of the general rankings for cars and trucks. It’s Anton SHIBALOV from the KAMAZ team, third with a the best time of 35'01". Another stage without any error which allowed the n°401, to lead with only 58 seconds on SERRADORI.
The other trucks also performed as four T4’s are in the Top 10 of the day with the 5th place of Tomas TOMECEK from Czech Republic at the wheel of his TATRA, finishing 40’29’’ behind the leader. Russia’s Sergey Kuprianov on the gas powered KAMAZ is 7th at 49', the MAN of the Portuguese Elisabete JACINTO, 8th at 51'56'' and finally the Hungarian Miklos Kovacs, driving his SCANIA truck in 9th place at 53'23'' Unfortunately, the race is over for Gregoor BOUWENS driving the IVECO truck as he had to retire. In the overall standings for cars and trucks, except for SHIBALOV running the show they include TOMECEK in 7th position at 56'34 '' , right in front KUPRIANOV in 1h33'07 ''
The organisation team of the Africa Eco Race, including the Race HQ, will have a short night in order to successfully bring back the participants who where in trouble .Wednesday, those who had arrived too late or who are in need of any repairs will be able to skip the 399 km loop around Azougui. For others, it will be another big stage that should allow some to make progress and others to catch up.