Mauritania proves challenging for Africa Eco race competitors

Mauritania proves challenging for Africa Eco race competitors

The stage of the AFRICA ECO RACE between Amodjar and Akjoujttooks its toll on competitors both in moto and auto categories.  Navigation was especially complicated and the average speed of the winners (69 km/h for the motos and 78km/h for the autos) is indicative of the difficulty of the stage. T

The victory of Francisco ARREDONDO today was a real surprise as the battle for the leadership between Pal Anders ULLEVALSETER and Alessandro BOTTURI was the main attraction. Basically, both leaders of the general ranking rode 16 kms in the wrong direction along with Simone AGAZZI and Felix JENSEN. When they found their way back to the track, they joined ARREDONDO and they ended up finishing the special stage together. As Guatemalan Francisco left 10 minutes after the leaders, he finished ahead of the YAMAHA of BOTTURI by 2’59’’ and the KTM of Pal Anders ULLEVALSETER by 4’52’’. The time difference is 7’08’’ between BOTTURI and ULLEVALSETER and on the night before the last special stage, the Italian rider has a foot on the highest step of the podium baring a catastrophe, he should take the victory. Pal Anders admits upon arrival that a second place for “an old man” like him, is already good enough.

In the auto category the victory went to Yves FROMONT and Paul VIDAL who, after having gone through hell yesterday with a mechanical problem, arrived first even though they left quite far behind this morning. The Frenchmen attribyred the win to the performance of the OPTIMUS which took them to 3rd place in the general ranking auto/truck. Arriving 10’36’’ behind, David GERARD and Pascal DELACOUR performed well on this stage and the OPTIMUS 210 took second place on the podium. Jean-Pierre STRUGO and François BORSOTTO had a scare as they thought they lost a lot of time getting lost today. In reality, the leaders were actually on the right track and they arrived 3rd on the chronometer with 11’56’’ and keep their first place in the general. Jean-Noël et Rabha JULIEN took 4th place with 19’55’’, only a fingertip away from the podium, only 1’26’’ behind FROMONT and VIDAL. The final stage today will be decisive until the last moment.  The SSVs were very impressive with the CAN AM X of Rudy ROQUESALANE and Vincent FERRY in 5th position of the auto ranking ahead of Bruno FRETIN & Willy CHARBONNIER, Benoit FRETIN & Anthony PICHARD, Jean-Claude RUFFIER & Jérôme BOS as well as Jean-Luc PISSON-CECALDI & Thomas GAIDELLA. The 10th place goes to the Russians Evgenii SUKHOVENKO & Evgenii PAVLOV, in their Proto 4x4 of Team GAZ.

On today’s stage solo competitor Tomas TOMECEK proved to be a heroic winner and 5th scratch in auto/truck. Besides being alone in the cockpit of his TATRA, the CZECH spent most of the night in the middle of the dunes helping one of the two sweeping trucks working for the organisation. He then completed two extremely complicated special stages in a row with only 3 hours sleep. An exceptional performance. Behind him, Noël ESSERS, Marc LAUWERS and Johan COONINX take the 2nd place, in front of a newcomer, GAZ Russia of Boleslav LEVITSKII and Stanislas DOLGOV. Finishing in 4th place today. Elisabete JACINTO, Jose MARQUES and Marco COCHINHO are in line for the final victory.

Today, the final special stage of the AFRICA ECO RACE 2019 will bring the survivors of the Akjoujt stage to Fimlit, after 218 km of sandy tracks between dunes and one last crossing which won’t be easy.

Ranking stage 10 : Amodjar / Akjoujt*
Car / Truck :
1. Yves Fromont / Paul Vidal n°204 (FRA) 06 :45 :23
2. David Gerard / Pascal Delacour n°210 (FRA) + 00 :10 :36
3. Jean-Pierre Strugo / François Borsotto n°203 (FRA) + 00 :11 :56

Bike :
1. Francisco Arredondo n°101 (GTM) 07 :03 :23
2. Alessandro Botturi n°103 (ITA) + 00 :02 :59
3. Pal Anders Ullevalseter n°100 (NOR) + 00 :04 :52

Overall ranking*
Car / Truck : 
1. Jean-Pierre Strugo / François Borsotto n°203 (FRA) 42 :54 :00
2. David Gerard / Pascal Delacour n°210 (FRA) + 01 :27 :43
3. Yves Fromont / Paul Vidal n°204 (FRA) + 01 :51 :43

Bike :
1. Alessandro Botturi n°103 (ITA) 44 :13 :56
2. Pal Anders Ullevalseter n°100 (NOR) + 00 :07 :08
3. Simone Agazzi n°116 (ITA) + 02 :11 :42