Jan 05, 2019
The ultimate Moroccan stage of the AFRICA ECO RACE 2019, made up of a special stage of 420 km and of a 214 km liaison towards Dakhla, will have been more intense than what we would have been able to plan. Especially on four wheels where the battle between Buggies raged. Some are relieved to get out of Morocco. Others are worried about what is awaiting in the Mauritanian desert. But all are decided to take advantage of the rest day on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean to Dakhla to get back strength after practically 2000 kilometers of special stage in Morocco.
BOTTURI leaves Morocco as leader
On his YAMAHA, Alessandro BOTTURI was not lying this morning about catching up Pal Anders ULLEVALSETER who opened the track with his KTM. Once the Norwegian was caught up by the Italian, both men drove together for 400 kilometers until the finish line, swept away by strong wind. In the end, BOTTURI was ahead of ULLEVALSETER by 1’23’’ and in the overall ranking, 7’26’’. Behind both strong men of the rally, in front of the KTM of Felix JENSEN, driving an Austrian machine, Martin BENKO takes 3rd place today and therefore 3rd place overall in front of Simone AGAZZI. The Italian preferred playing it safe until he feels comfortable behind the wheel of his HONDA, furthermore that this special stage was fast and needed serious navigation skills. It is due to that today, that we saw several competitors driving in small groups, in order to collaborate and avoid the risk of getting lost or arrive late in Dakhla. The surprise of the day was the ranking of the Italian Domenico CIPOLLONE who takes 6th place on the special stage as well as on the overall ranking, in front of French Philippe CAVELIUS. Great performance also for the Spanish pilot Juan Jose CAMPDERA LOZANO, 7th on the scratch and first in the malle moto ranking, drivers who compete without assistance, in which the leader is the French Stéphane HAMARD with an 8th overall.
KUPRIANOV leads the battle of the Buggies
When Dominique LAURE and Christophe CRESPO came out of their OPTIMUS around 2PM, they were not as satisfied as the previous days. And the reason is because a few minutes later, David GERARD and Pascal DELACOUR arrived at the finish line. This moment, it was sure, they wouldn’t win their 5th special stage in a row as Jean-Louis SCHLESSER did in the past. Especially when they saw Sergey and Aleksandr KUPRIANOV pass the finish line barely after the AFRICA ECO RACE TV production started interviewing David GERARD. Knowing they departed in 6th place, everybody understood that OPTIMUS of the Russian did well and had just won the special stage, 33’’ in front of the TAREK of Patrick MARTIN and Didier BIGOT. A very small difference considering the 420 km of special stages disputed at over 110 km/h. Another OPTIMUS completes the podium of the day. It is the one of Jean-Nöel and Rabha JULIEN who end at 1’48’’ and take third place of the overall auto-truck category. The overall ranking is still dominated by Dominique LAURE and Christophe CRESPO, 22’30’’ ahead of Jean-Pierre STRUGO and François BORSOTTO. In a different category, before the entrance in Mauritania, in the SSVs, Rudy ROQUESALANE, Vincent FERRY on CAN AM are running the show, same as Gérald MOGNIER and Pierre ROUBIN in the OPEN category with their Buggy PEUGEOT, François and Stéphane COUSIN in 4×4 and Kenjiro SHINOZUKA & Cathy DEROUSSEAUX in T2.
Elisabete JACINTO imperial in the truck category
The large smile of Elisabete JACINTO when she got out of his truck was satisfying to see. The Portuguese driver, perfectly assisted by Jose MARQUES and Marco COCHINHO, won first place in the truck category by getting the 7th time of the day at only 10’06’’ from auto leader. Taking into account that the MAN team stopped 8 minutes after 3 kms for some mechanical problems in the intercooler, we can say it’s an impressive performance. A result that enables them to take the lead again of the truck overall ranking, also due to the clutch problems of Tomas TOMECEK TATRA, towed to come out of the track. Good deal for Igor BOUWENS, Tom DE LEUW and Ulrich BOERBOOM, 10th with their IVECO and this, even though they had a problem with their turbo. The Belgiums are ahead of the Holland team Johan ELFRINK and Dirk SCHUTTEL who place their MERCEDES on the truck podium for the first time since the start of the AFRICA ECO RACE. In the overall ranking, Nöel ESSERS, Marc LAUWERS and Johan COONINX are now in second place ahead of Igor BOUWENS, who clearly has the best progression.
This Sunday 6th of January 2019, the competitors of the AFRICA ECO RACE will benefit from a day of rest in Dakhla, this sand bank in the Southern extremity of Morocco where temperatures are around 25 degrees. A well deserved rest to reboot along the Atlantic Ocean before the second week in the Mauritanian desert.
Ranking stage 5 : Fort Chacal / Dakhla*
Car / Truck :
1. Sergey Kuprianov / Aleksandr Kuprianov n°202 (RUS) 03 :45 :50
2. Patrick Martin / Didier Bigot n°205 (FRA) + 00 :00 :36
3. Jean-Noël Julien / Rabha Julien n°208 (FRA) + 00 :01 :48
1. Alessandro Botturi n°103 (ITA) 04 :14 :11
2. Pal Anders Ullevalseter n°100 (NOR) + 00 :02 :08
3. Felix Jensen n°102 (NOR) + 00 :18 :35
Car / Truck :
1. Dominique Laure / Christophe Crespo n°211 (FRA) 19 :36 :13
2. Jean-Pierre Strugo / François Borsotto n°203 (FRA) + 00 :22 :30
3. Jean-Noël Julien / Rabha Julien n°208 (FRA) + 01 :28 :00
1. Alessandro Botturi n°103 (ITA) 20 :46 :08
2. Pal Anders Ullevalseter n°100 (NOR) + 00 :07 :16
3. Martin Benko n°109 (SVK) + 02 :02 :08
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