Africa Eco Race competitors complete Stage 9 a loop around Amodjar

Africa Eco Race competitors complete Stage 9 a loop around Amodjar

Competitors were unanimous at the stage finish at the Chinguetti aerodrome that this 9th stage loop around Amodjar was the most beautiful so far on this 15th edition of the 'AFRICA ECO RACE. But it was also the most difficult with a 90 km line of dunes and once again varied terrain ,tiring for machines and men.  With over 363 kilometers in the blazing sun resulting in quite significant gaps at the finish and numerous upheavals in the rankings, except at the top of the table. 

As with every day since the start of the event, the men of the arriving CP and the journalists were able to see three motorcycle headlights on the horizon.   Gguess what, it was 103, 111 and 113, namely Alessandro BOTTURI, Jacopo CERUTTI and Pol TARRES. The two YAMAHA 700 Ténéré and the APRILIA 660 Tuareg. 

Clearly, these three riders are unable to separate themselves on the track. Victory went to BOTTURI ahead of CERRUTI and TARRES. This was without counting on a 6-minute penalty for excessive speed in a DZ which deprived BOTTURI of victory.
An unwelcome sanction two days before the finish for the only driver exempt from any penalty since the start of the Rally. 


Behind, Italian Olympic medalist Marco Aurelio FONTANA 4th on his HONDA, was just 18 minutes behind and is participating in his first major rally. He is ahead of Marco MENICHINI, for the first time in the top 5, with his HUSQVARNA and Giovanni GRITTI who gave himself a big scare by crashing with his HONDA.

Same mishap today for Alexandre VAUDAN, leader of the Rookie Rider By Acerbis challenge and victim of a big fall which badly damaged his KTM. The Swiss rider was stunned at the finish but was still in 7th position, just ahead of the Frenchman Atilio FERT.


All credit to Juan PEDRERO GARCIA, the HARLEY DAVIDSON 1250 PAN AMERICA rider who started in 23rd position and set the 9th fastest time of the day. A real feat when we look at the appearance of the course, far from ideal for the “big” HARLEY. Finally, a word about Kevin DURAND who also made the top 10 for the first time. The Frenchman had a huge smile upon arrival because he had such a great time. 

A Fifth special success for Pierre-Louis LOUBET and François BORSOTTO. The French driver celebrated the signing of his WRC2 contract with SKODA with a victory. After yesterday, marked by a mechanical problem, the Corsican started 7th this morning. This did not prevent him from winning the special 36 seconds ahead of the CAN AM of Carlos VENTO and Carlos RUIZ MORENO . The Spaniards also achieved an incredible performance since they had been deprived of front-wheel drive since kilometer 20. Heatcliff ZINGRAF and Gregory REVEST completed the day's podium.


As for Gautier PAULIN and Remi BOULANGER, after a morning puncture, the general leaders drove with the other APACHE from LOUBET, without ever forcing the pace, to save the car as much as possible. The French team nevertheless finished fifth. An ideal day for the SSV since you have to go down to 7th position to find the first car and the TOYOTA of Pascal FERYN and Kurt KEYSERS. The Belgians are 24 minutes ahead of the TOYOTA of the Dutch Teun STAM and Rene BARGERMAN. The Hungarians Imre VARGA and Jozsef TOMA took 3rd place by only 59 seconds. 


In the truck catagory, Tomas TOMECEK was again the winner at the wheel of his TATRA.  The Czech beat the GINAF of the Belgians Cedric FERYN, Bjorn BURGELMAN and Tom DE LEUW while the Dutch  team Aad VAN VELSEN, Michel VAN VELSEN and Marco SIEMONS finished 3rd with their SCANIA.  

In the Classic race this 21st Regularity Zone of 35 km, carried out on this 9th stage, smiled on Rene DECLERCQ and John DEMEESTER. At the wheel of their 1980 BOMBARDIER Iltis, the Belgians beat the Austrian Peter BRABECK-LETMATHE and the Frenchman Jean-Michel GAYTE. Andres BRABECK-LETMATHE and Laurent MAGAT, also with a 1998 MITSUBISHI Pajero, took the bronze medal of the day. 


Today, Friday, the AFRICA ECO RACE caravan will head towards the village of Akjoujt located on the road between Atar and Nouakchott. A stage of 413 km including 387 km of special and a start from the bivouac which will allow all those in attendance to see the racing vehicles set off. The penultimate opportunity to shine on a course made up of 90% sand.

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