The first Moroccan night on the Bivouac of La Momie wasn’t as cold as predicted as the temperature luckily did not go below 3 degrees and some competitors arrived very late - repairs and maintenance went on for a good part of the night. Nevertheless, besides Philippe PINCHEDEZ who wass forced to abandon after his CAN AM SSV drove into a rift, all the participants were at the start this morning for today’s challenging 430 kilometre stage.
Leaving 2 minutes after the YAMAHA of Alessandro BOTTURI, Pal Anders ULLEVALSETER was able to catch up on his time difference with the Italian in 80 km. From then onwards the Norwegian and his KTM stayed close to the general ranking leader until the arrival at the bivouac, a few kilometres from Foum Zguid.
We had to wait until 27’21’’ to see the 3rd moto arrive, the HONDA of Italian pilot Simone AGAZZI. Following in 4th place at 44’09’’ was Martin BENKO. The Slovenian was ahead of Felix JENSEN, student, co-competitor and compatriot of ULLEVALSETER who continues to progress. Solid performance also from French driver Philippe CAVELIUS who, without a GPS issue would have been in the top 5.
Second one for the LAURE-CRESPO team in auto
In rally-raid, the biggest difficulty is to be the first car on the road - an experience that Dominique LAURE and Christophe CRESPO, winners of yesterday’s stage, were confronted with. But the leaders of the general ranking drove a perfect stage and were never caught taking a second consecutive victory. A magnificent performance for the OPTIMUS N°211 team who are preserved their leadership. Another OPTIMUS Buggy took second place as Jean Pierre STRUGO and Francois BORSOTTO, delayed for nearly 10 minutes after hitting a rock and damaging his rim. Philippe GOSSELIN and David BONON complete the auto podium with their OPTIMUS N°209 with “Fous du Volant” colours. They were ahead of Yves FROMONT and Paul VIDAL’s TAREK by less than 3 minutes. The latter decided to use their knowledge and previous experience of these tracks, avoiding the Erg de Chegaga where many four-wheel competitors were struggling.
On the truck side, even if they had to take out their shovels and platters, Tomas TOMECEK in his TATRA and Elisabete JACINTO, José MARQUES, Marco COCHINHO in their MAN end the race in 8th and 9th position in Auto/Truck ranking. They also have the same ranking in general after this second stage where most of these desert beasts have a hard time.
Today, the third stage will bring the caravan of the AFRICA ECO RACE towards Assa. A special sector 400km long of typical Moroccan landscape will be awaiting the competitors, who will have to take it easy if they do not want to encounter any issues.
Ranking stage 2 : La Momie / Agdal*
Car / Truck :
1. Dominique Laure / Christophe Crespo n°211 (FRA) 05 :21 :12
2. Jean-Pierre Strugo / François Borsotto n°203 (FRA) + 00 :10 :18
3. Philippe Gosselin / David Bonon n°209 (FRA) + 00 :27 :24
1. Pal Anders Ullevalseter n°100 (NOR) 05 :26 :10
2. Alessandro Botturi n°103 (ITA) + 00 :01 :40
3. Simone Agazzi n°116 (ITA) + 00 :17 :28
Car / Truck :
1. Dominique Laure / Christophe Crespo n°211 (FRA) 06 :20 :58
2. Jean-Pierre Strugo / François Borsotto n°203 (FRA) + 00 :15 :04
3. Philippe Gosselin / David Bonon n°209 (FRA) + 00 :38 :00
1. Alessandro Botturi n°103 (ITA) 06 :32 :32
2. Pal Anders Ullevalseter n°100 (NOR) + 00 :04 :29
3. Simone Agazzi n°116 (ITA) + 00 :27 :21
STAGE 2 : LA MOMIE / AGDAL - THEY SAID
Alessandro BOTTURI – YAMAHA – ENERGIA 1 SORRISI RALLYE TEAM: 2nd stage – 1st general moto
It was a special long and varied special sector. The navigation wasn’t easy but I have never seen roadbooks as precise as this these. With Pal Anders, we spent 5 hours on the motorbike to do 430 km.
Behind us, many will suffer today but It was a pleasure driving alongside ULLEVASTETER. It was a good
Philippe CAVELIUS – KTM – CAVELIUS TEAM: 7th stage – 6th overall moto
This special sector was particularly tough. A GPS problem bothered me on the first part of the track.
Even so, it was a pleasure to navigate and drive in these beautiful landscapes. Nothing to be added,
Africa is really a beautiful continent to rally in and I am happy to be here again.
Simone AGAZZI – HONDA – RS MOTO HONDA RACING TEAM: 3rd stage and 3rd overall moto
Today, the special sector was extraordinary. It was a mix of all: endurance, cross, dunes, rolling parts.
A real pleasure. On the other hand, the navigation was not easy at all but if you follow the road-book
carefully, it’s fine.
Yves FROMONT – Buggy TAREK – Team FROMONT: 4th stage and 7th overall auto/truck.
After a complicated first day, we did better today. We lost a big quarter of an hour after losing
ourselves in the plateau of the Atlas. But finally, our experience helped us not to make any driving
mistakes and it ended quite well. The race is ON and Dakar is still far away.
Elisabete JACINTO – MAN – TEAM BIO RITMO: 9th stage and 9th overall
We got seriously stuck at the top of a dune which made us loose approx. 30 minutes. But it is part of
the game. I am very happy of the development with my truck. I really hope we will continue like this
and erase the bad memories of the two last years at AFRICA ECO RACE.