Jan 10, 2018
In the seventh stage of the Africa Eco Race, Gerard de Rooy still has not got the large and extensive dunes he hoped for. The special stage of 486 kilometres was particularly varied: “Fast, some stones, some dunes – not spectacular – and camel grass. After so many years I know again what camel grass is. I haven’t missed it.”
The special stage had both start and finish in the vicinity of the bivouac at Chami in Mauritania. De Rooy completed the distance in 4 hours and 40 minutes. Standings leader Vladimir Vasilyev extended his gap on De Rooy with more than 46 minutes. The Russian Mini again achieved an average speed of 125; more than 20 km/h faster than the Iveco.
On the mostly fast tracks, interspersed with the hard humps of camel grass, De Rooy almost had a broken tire. “The tread was damaged. We changed the tire before it would puncture,” he says in the bivouac. “That means that I still have one and a half spare tire left for tomorrow.”
The seventh stage was the first part of the marathon stage. De Rooy had to put his Iveco Powerstar in a parc fermé where the service crews are not allowed to enter. With the spare tires he started the seventh stage with, he also has to make it to the end of the eighth.
“We can quietly do our thing and the mechanics can go to bed early”, said De Rooy. “That’s good, because the service team will have a ten-hour drive tomorrow.” The participants in the race have a stage of 439 kilometres awaiting them, in which – according to the organization – ‘the real dunes start’. This may be the chance for De Rooy to advance into fourth in the standings. The Swiss driver Remy Vauthier has only 3 minutes left to De Rooy.
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