Africa Eco Race Review: Chami to Amodjar in the Mauritanian desert

Africa Eco Race Review: Chami to Amodjar in the Mauritanian desert

Wednesday Review

By the end of the 390km special stage between Chami and Amodjar there was no doubt that the difficult terrain that can be found in Africa was in the heart of the splendid Mauritanian desert landscape and in unseasonably high temperatures. 
Despite all this the leaders held up well in both the car and motorbike categories, so there were few changes.

Once again in the motorbike category the top three riders in the overall classification crossed the finish line together. 
Alessandro BOTTURI was the first to set off from Chami, but crashed for the first time in the small strip of dunes after 10km. By the time he had put his Yamaha Tenerée700 back on its wheels, the Italian saw the APRILIA 660 TUAREG of his compatriot Jacopo CERUTTI - who had started 2 minutes behind- had caught up with him. The two men then rode together. They even crashed at exactly the same time, for the delight of the photographers, who immortalized the two perfectly coordinated front somersaults. 

All this explains why Pol TARRES was back with the two leaders at kilometer 50, despite having started 8 minutes behind. The two YAMAHAs and the APRILIA then covered the entire course without letting up too much. In the end, TARRES won his second special stage with a lead of 00:05:48 over CERUTTI and 00:07:51 over BOTTURI. 


The second official APRILIA of Francesco MONTANARI  also did very well, 4th at 43 seconds and now perfectly on the pace of the leaders. Once again, Italian rider Giovanni GRITTI won the 450 class on his HONDA, ahead of the BETA of his compatriot Francesco MURATORI and the KTM of the surprising Swiss rider Alexandre VAUDAN; in 5th position overall, he is still leader of the ROOKIE RIDER BY ACERBIS challenge ahead of Francesco MURATORI and Marco-Aurelio FONTANA on a HUSQVARNA. 
In the MOTUL XTREM RIDER category, Frenchman Patrice CARILLON won for the first time, scoring a fine 16th place. He now leads the category ahead of his compatriots Antoine DETOURBET and Nicolas BOTTU.


In the provisional general standings, with three stages to go, Japoto CERUTTI is still in the lead, 00:03:03 ahead of Alessandro BOTTURI and still 00:22:22 ahead of Pol TARRES from Andorra. 


Winner of his 4th special stage yesterday in the Car/Truck category, Pierre-Louis LOUBET had every intention of continuing his success and climbing up the overall standings, but a mechanical problem brought the N°261 APACHE to a halt at CP2. As a result, the other SSVs took advantage of the situation, starting with Ricardo SOUSA and Jorge BRANDAO, superb scratch winners on the stage with their CAN AM. The Portuguese duo beat their friends from the OLD FRIENDS RALLY TEAM, Carlos VENTO and Carlos RUIZ MORENO  by 00:07:36. Gautier PAULIN and Remi BOULANGER rounded off the day's podium with the APACHE at 00:19:20, less than 2 minutes ahead of Heatcliff ZINGRAF and Gregory REVEST, back in the running .


The first car was the TOYOTA of Pascal FERYN and Kurt KEYSERS. The Belgians arrived twenty minutes ahead of the TOYOTA of Hungarians Imre VARGA and Jozsef TOMA. In the truck category Dutchmen Aad VAN VELSEN,  Michel VAN VELSEN and Marco SIEMONS were just over 3 minutes ahead of the TATRA of the Czech Tomas TOMECEK  who is still leading the race. 

In the provisional overall standings, the PAULIN/BOULANGER team are continuing to extend their lead, with 03:41:52 over FERYN/KEYSERS and 04:37:18 over VENTO/RUIZ MORENO.

In the Classic race, it was a short day today with just one 59km Regularity Zone on the program, victory went to the team of Austrian Peter BRABECK-LEMATHE and Frenchman Jean Michel GAYTE in their 1998 MITSUBISH PAJERO. Overall, after 19 ZRs, Belgians Tom and Eric CLAEYS are still in the lead with their 1986 TOYOTA BJ 73.


Today, Thursday January 11, the second loop of the 15th edition of the AFRICA ECO RACE will take place. There's no doubt that this will be the toughest part of the event, with 363km of special stages featuring sand, stones, dunes and navigation, all at 35 degrees Celsius. Tomorrow the competitors will have so much work to do, while the assistance services will be on stand-by for the duration of this 9th stage. 

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