Jan 01, 2018
The 10th edition of the Africa Eco Race at the Stade Rondelli of Menton began with the administrative and technical checks. The real start was given by Jean-Marie Bigard (french humorist) on Sunday at 9 AM in Monaco.
“The pressure is already there, the race begins now !” ….. is how Kristian Felix Jensen commented his turn during the checks at the city of Menton. At 26, the youngest Norwegian motorcycle rider is the protégé of Pal Anders Ullevalseter, two-time winner of the Africa Eco Race, and is competing for the first time in a raid of this size. He is following his 49-year-old mentor, who still has the same enthusiasm : “This year I’m really excited because it’s my only big competition, I know it’s going to be difficult because I’m not young anymore but I’m taking two 26 year old drivers who will be able to push me.”
All competitors have 48 hours to certify that everything is in order (insurance, registration, vehicle safety standards, stickers …) before going to the parc fermé Quai Antoine 1er in Monaco where will officially start the 10th edition of the Africa Eco Race.
The primordial step of verifications
The first vehicles arrived on Wednesday, December 27th, just like the team of the winner of the last car edition, Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS). Good timing for the staff who could take care of the car and wash it before scrolling alongside the quads, motorcycles, buggies and trucks that pass under a tent of the organization to be watched in every detail. The drivers must show their race gear and all their equipment to be sure that everything is in order as required by the FIA. An important step before the race, a bit like a prologue where entrants have to cross the finish line and gain the stamp to qualify for the competition.
A unique show for the public
While the truck of the Portuguese Elisabete Jacinto settles in the Rondelli stadium, the Iveco PowerStar that belongs to the Dutch Gérard de Rooy (two-time winner of the Dakar) is most photographed by the public who admire those big monsters. At the same time, the 7 MD Rally Sport buggies line up at the back of the stadium and all the staff is thrilled to meet again before taking part in the adventure. “It’s been a year since we are working on the cars, the checks are intense for the staff, once they are finished we will be relieved, then we leave the keys to the drivers and it is up to them to go on” explains Antoine Morel the boss of the team. All are eager to get on the podium of departure.
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