7TH STAGE – MAURITANIA : CHAMI / CHAMI : 508 KM
The 2nd Mauritanian day launched the famous marathon stage of the 10th edition of the Africa Eco Race. In the first part of this event, the competitors could enjoy a 486 kilometers leg. A day off for the mechanics who does not have the right to approach the cars staying in a “parc fermé” until the start of the 2nd part of the stage tomorrow.
Do not take a risk
A few hundred meters from the bivouac, the first part of this special started with a straight line of speed. A slightly sandy fast track sent the competitors to a first easy dune crossing before coming back on very fast tracks with a tricky navigation. The real difficulty remained in the last thirty kilometers with a dunes and camel grass to avoid in order not to damage the vehicles. A complicated leg where caution was required before reaching the “parc fermé” in the middle of a 900 kilometers marathon.
A big fight
As announced, the Vasilyev-Serradori duel made the Mauritanian tracks vibrate on this sandy stage. Mathieu Serradori and Fabian Lurquin (FRA / MCM) had the heavy task of opening on a rolling but tricky course in navigation. A difficulty that did not slow down Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS / MINI). The defending champions managed to pass the French-Belgian team for another intense duel on a good part of the stage. The Russians finally won two minutes before their rivals. A little mistake on the sand later, the buggy of Guillaume Gomez and François Borsotto (FRA / OPTIMUS) which took the 3rd place of the day with 30’27 “of delay. Pascal Thomasse and Pascal Larroque (FRA / OPTIMUS) remain comfortably on the 3rd step of the podium overall, finishing 4th today. Still the first truck on the race, Gerard De Rooy (NL / IVECO) had to change a tire during the leg and finished 7th while retaining his 5th place overall.
In motorcycles, Paolo Ceci (ITA / KTM) let his experience speak and managed to win in front of Dmitry Agoshkov (RUS / KTM). The young Luis Oliveira (POR / YAMAHA) crosses the finish line just behind the Italian but takes the 3rd place because of a missing waypoint which costs him 20 minutes of penalties. Another hard day for double winner Pal Anders Ullevalseter (NOR / KTM) who started the stage late because of a mechanical problem this morning. Unfortunately he could only ride a few kilometers before returning to the bivouac.
Ranking stage 7 Chami / Chami : 508km*
Car / Truck :
1. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) 03 :53 :48
2. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) + 00 :02 :09
3. Guillaume Gomez / François Borsotto n°207 (FRA) + 00 :30 :27
1. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) 05 :20 :22
2. Dmitry Agoshkov n°163 (RUS) + 00 :01 :05
3. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) + 00 :01 :57
Car / Truck :
1. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) 22 :51 :28
2. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) + 00 :16 :23
3. Pascal Thomasse / Pascal Larroque n°206 (FRA) + 02 :02 :06
1. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) 28 :57 :13
2. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) + 00 :58 :45
3. Martin Benko n°102 (SLK) + 03 :21 :17
Vladimir VASILYEV: “It was a good leg, we drove very well even though the fight was intense, everything is going well with the car, we are ready for tomorrow.”
Mathieu SERRADORI: “We managed to handle the first day of the 900 kilometers without assistance. We started with a good rythm, Vasilyev then caught us and we did not let him go. Fabian did a very good navigation and we did not have any problems, I thought we could drive faster than him but we drove side by side at 200 km / h without being able to overtake them.”
Guillaume GOMEZ: “Today we got stuck once but I did not ride in the sand for a year … I lost about twenty minutes to get out with the sandblasting plates. It is my first rally with François, he brings me a lot and calms me, he makes a very good navigation and helps me to find the tracks. Now I would like to do at least a scratch before the finish in Dakar.”
Paolo CECI: “It was very fast today with a few dunes, I had a lot of fun, I drove with Luis for more than 400 kilometers, it’s very good if we can continue the adventure like that. I knew that Pal had mechanical problems, it’s a real shame. My bike is fine, I’m just going to change the air filter to be ready for tomorrow.”
Dmitry AGOSHKOV: “It was a long leg with a complicated navigation, there was a lot of sand just before the finish line but I really like it!”
Luis OLIVEIRA: “It was a good day with a complicated navigation, it was still nice to open the track, I had to stay focused but I missed a waypoint, I’m ready for tomorrow.”