Liaison : 118 km – Special stage : 94 km – Liaison : 393 km
A FIRST STAGE WITHOUT ISSUES FOR THE AFRICA ECO RACE 2022
As soon as the competitors drove off the ATLAS ferry from the Italian company GNV, they set off for a 118km liaison which was just far enough to warm up the engines before diving straight into the race. Today’s stage was quite technical with some interesting navigation considering the short 94km stage.
Maurizio GERINI leads in bike category
On two wheels, the Italian Maurizio GERINI imposed himself overall and created the sensation. The HUSQVARNA rider finished 1’04 in front of the KTM rider Stefan SVITKO. This result was to be for seen as the Italian started in 30th position and the day before on the boat he was saying how much he enjoyed this type of terrain. Looking at the Slovakian, who is a rising start of the sport, he assured he had an ideal starting position for the second stage.
In third position, we must mention the strong performance from Xavier FLICK, a young rider, who is like the first 2 participating in his first AFRICA ECO RACE. It seems like the frenchman has understood how the road-book works as he managed to place his HUSQVARNA just 5’55 behind the leader which enables him to be the first MOTUL EXTREME RIDER. This category is where each rider gets only 1 box of spare parts which is then transported by the MOTUL organisation trucks. Behind these 3 riders we can find the Italian two time winner Alexandro BOTTURI on his YAMAHA and the Norwegian Pal Anders ULLEVALSETTER, who both rode carefully knowing exactly how long this 6000km race is all the way to Dakar.
Francesca GASPERI, the only woman rider this year, finished the stage in 30th position while been spotted by other riders noticing her very technical riding technic on her HONDA. Finally the one and only Quad of the rally, ridden by the Czech Zdenek TUMA signs a 24th position during this first stage clearly showing off his skills behind the handle bars.
Stage victory for David GERARD and Pascal DELACOUR in the car category
Behind the wheel of his OPTIMUS buggy, the AFRICA ECO RACE locals David GERARD and Pascal DELACOUR finished 2’51 in front of their Wacky Races teammates Philippe GOSSELIN and Christophe CRESPO. We need to point out the good performance from the Dutchman Rudy VOLLEBREGT and Gert TRAA finishing in 3rd with their CAN AM SSV just 39” behind the 2nd OPTIMUS.
With their good performance they managed to push back the 2nd T3 of Loïc FREBOURG and Franck BOULAY a full 4 minutes away. The Frenchmen finished in 5th position just in from of the Hungarian Imre VARGA and Jozsef TOMA with their TOYOTA Hilux. On the 3rd step of the T3 podium, there is an impressive performance from the Senegalese crew composed of Jean HAYECK-DAGHER and Patrick ANTONIOLLI with their CAN AM.
In the trucks, as expected Thomas TOMACEK delivered while driving alone his TATRA, meaning without mechanic nor co-driver. When looking at the overall rankings, he finished in 11th with over 3” in front of the other TATRA driven by they British crew Andrew WICKLOW, Joseph PEAKE and Quinton Matthew EVANS. The Italian MERCEDES from Giulio VERZELETTI and Guiseppe FORTUNA completes the giants podium.