Contestants of Africa Eco Race passed the first Mauritanian SS.
In order to toe the starting line on time the sportsmen had to leave the bivouac in Dakhla at around 5 o’clock in the morning, they also had to cross the border of Morocco and Mauritania.
“We drove approximately 350 km, crossed the border without any problems. Then we passed 60 km more to the starting line and we had 4 hours of free time. We didn’t waste time: tried to rest and sleep, as we had an early time of getting up”, – told the pilot of KAMAZ-master Andrey Karginov.
According to another pilot of KAMAZ-master Sergey Kuprianov, the race authorities had foreseen potential delay of the border crossing and made the special short, only 172 km.
“Last year we already passed this stage and it was clear today that it was going to be very-very fast, may be the fastest in the whole race. It is done in view of crossing the border and possible delay. This SS should be competitive but without problems for the contestants,” – explained Sergey Kuprianov.
However, there were some problems. “We saw a stopped rider, he had some problems, may be, had fallen of his bike. We saw one of the leaders of the car category Thierry Magnaldi, fixing his car,” – told Kuprianov.
“That is strange, that only one car outran us. Trucks have speed limits, but cars don’t. And today there were straight roads, where one could drive at the top speed: no turnings, no dangerous places and everything was clear given in the road book. As for us, in general, we didn’t make mistakes, we went in a fast, confident way, and I hope we pleased the photographers, who took photos of the section with big jumps,” – added Sergey Kuprianov.
Andrey Karginov, who confirmed his leadership in the truck category today, said that he was expecting the next stage to be really challenging, with loose sands.
Today the sportsmen will spend the night on the bivouac near Tiwilit town. Tomorrow they have to overcome SS more than 400 km long and return to Tiwilit again. Thus, the route won’t be straight, as usual, it will be like a loop, by tradition of Africa Eco Race 2017.
Mechanics of KAMAZ-master Team told how they spent the rest day on Africa Eco Race.
Moroccan stage of Africa Eco Race is left behind. Today the race participants entered the territory of Mauritania, starting the second half of the competition. Loose sands changed sharp stones, however, the sportsmen must be all the same attentive and accurate.
And yesterday it was a rest day in the resort town Dakhla. The bivouac was set up on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. However, judging by the words of the mechanic of Sergey Kuprianov’s crew Anatoly Tanin, they had to not only rest and “accumulate energy”, but do a lot of prophylactic works in the trucks.
“We don’t have a rest day. We have other tasks for this day. First of all, it is to change springs, to do a technical check of the truck, so that it could be in a good condition in the second half of the race,” – explained Anatoly Tanin.
The same hard work awaited the crew of Andrey Karginov. “We started work yesterday in the evening, changed rear springs. All main works were finished before Saturday noon, and all works were finished at 5p.m., and that is a good result for the rest day. We did everything according to the regulations, no surprises,” – told the mechanic Dmitry Nikitin.
According to the words of Tanin, the Mauritanian part of the race didn’t give any big surprises. “We didn’t have huge problems, only small ones. Now the truck is ready, everything is Ok”, – he said.
However, nobody is going to relax now: dangerous and challenging legs of the second half of the race are ahead.
“Sands can lead to big problems with clutch and transmission. But we hope to avoid them”, – said Tanin.
“There were a lot of rocks in Morocco and suspension had almost the whole load. Now there will be sands and everything depends on the engine work”, – added the mechanic Dmitry Nikitin.
As they say, you can postpone a race but never a lunch. And that day Sergey Kuprianov cooked lunch for KAMAZ-master team.
“It is a tradition of our team. While mechanics work, pilots and co-pilots have a cooking day. Everyone cooks that he can. Yesterday Sergey cooked us lamb with potatoes, it was as tasty, as at home”, – admitted Anatoly Tanin.
Also KAMAZ-master Team celebrated Christmas on the bivouac in Dakhla. Their colleagues from Slovakia, Czechia, Kazakhstan and other countries congratulated the sportsmen with it.