Africa Eco Race heads to Southern Morocco

Africa Eco Race heads to Southern Morocco

Friday Review:

For some AFRICA ECO RACE competitors Stage 3 left its mark, but others were strongly motivated at the start from the Oued Draa bivouac for the 467km special, over varied terrain with some rather demanding navigation at the end of the route.


Once again Italy's Jacopo CERUTTI was the strongest. Starting in 3rd position behind the two official Yamaha's, the APRILIA rider managed to catch Italian Alessandro BOTTURI, who had started in the lead, and Andorran Pol TARRES, who had started 2nd. 
This was his 3rd victory since the start of the rally and strengthened his overall lead over TARRES at 00:08:55, with BOTTURI at 00:10:22.
 

The three men have a lead of just over two hours over Franco-Moroccan Guillaume BORNE, 4th today aboard his HUSQVARNA and leader of the 450 category, and the ROOKIE RIDERS BY ACERBIS. Italian rider Giovanni GRITTI did well on stage 4, putting his HONDA in 5th position and just 4 minutes behind BORNE in the 450 class.


Clearly, it was a good day for the two-cylinder machines, with Alessandro RUOSO and Nicolas CHARLIER finishing 6th and 7th on their YAMAHA Tenere 700, while Francesco MONTANARI finished 8th on the APRILIA, just ahead of Juan PEDRERO and his HARLEY DAVIDSON 1250 Pan American, who said at the finish: 


"I started cautiously because I didn't want to take any risks in the rocks. Despite that, I realized at the refueling point that my front tire was torn on the sidewall and I drove with the fear that I wouldn't finish the whole of the second part of the stage. As a result, I applied myself to navigation and I took other riders with me on the right track. On the other hand, I'm totally destroyed physically by this bike with its incredibly powerful engine.”

Italian Marco MENICHINI rounded off the day's top 10 with his HUSQVARNA 450.


In the MOTUL XTREME RIDER challenge for unassisted riders, victory went to Frenchman Nicolas BOTTU on a KTM. On the other hand, Italian Stefano CHIUSSI on his HUSQVARNA is the leader after four stages. 


On four wheels, Pierre-Louis LOUBET and François BORSOTTO put in the best performance of the day with their APACHE SSV, despite two punctures. After a great battle on the track with the Pick-Up TOYOTA of Koen WAUTERS, the Frenchmen scored their second victory and beat the CAN AM of Spaniards Carlos VENTO and Carlos RUIZ MORENO by 00:03:59.


The TOYOTA of Koen WAUTERS and Kris VEN DER STEEN finished 3rd overall at 00:10:08. The Belgians won the Car category ahead of Hungary's Imre VARGA and Jozsef TOMA, who finished 6th on the stage, also in a TOYOTA. Pascal FERYN and Kurt KEYSERS completed the day's podium in the T1 4X4 category. 


In the provisional overall standings, taking 4th place overall and 3rd in the SSV category, Gautier PAULIN driven by Remy BOULANGER and their APACHE SSV now have a lead of 01:48:09 over Frederic HENRICY and Eric BERSEY's CAN AM, while Spain's Carlos VENTO and Carlos RUIZ MORENO move up to 3rd place.


In the truck category, victory went to the SCANIA of Aad VAN VELSEN, Michel VAN VELSEN and Marco SIEMONS. The Dutch team beat the TATRA of Czech Tomas TOMECEK, still the overall leader, by around ten minutes. 


In the Classic race, the battle raged again today over the two Regularity Zones. The level was very high and the competitors were incredibly consistent. After three stages and 11 “R-Z's”, Belgians Eric and Tom CLAEYS are leading the way in their TOYOTA BJ 73 ahead of their compatriots René DECLERCQ and John DEMEESTER in a BOMBARDIER Iltis. Austrian Peter BRABECK-LETMATHE and Frenchman Jean Michel GAYTE rounded off the provisional podium in a MITSUBISHI Pajero. 


Today, Saturday, the AFRICA ECO RACE will continue its descent due south towards Dakhla, where the rest day will take place on Sunday 7 January. In the meantime, after a 27km liaison, there will be a 397km special stage and a 168km liaison to finally take a breather on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean before tackling the second week in Mauritania.


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