Mountains of dunes
It is in a valley with mountains and dunes scenery that competitors started this morning. Tired of the previous day's efforts, cars and bodies were spared with a later awakening thanks to a 45-kilometer short link before seeing the first bikes start at 8:43 am. And you had to be well awake from the beginning to tackle a big dune crossing from the first kilometers. A warm up for the continuation of the route more and more complicated in the middle of the mountains of dunes where it was necessary to follow the right direction in order not to be lost in a very soft sand. What a relief then to find the finish line at the entrance of the bivouac located a few kilometers from the city of Akjoujt.
The big win for Laure and Crespo, Ceci still there
"I don't know how we did it ...",
Beautiful story of the day belongs to Loïc Bonnevie and Sophie Hamys (FRA / CAN-AM) who finishes 6th today. An achievement because it is the best performance ever made by an SSV on the Africa Eco Race since its beginning.
Another nice surprise for the trucks as Johannes Van De Laar (NL / DAF) finishes first of the category. He crossed the finish line just ahead of Gerard De Rooy (NL / IVECO) who stopped to let him pass, the fairplay of the Dutchman who wanted to thank his compatriot for taking it out of the sand during the leg
In motorbikes, the wisdom and experience of Paolo Ceci (ITA / KTM) have struck again. The strong leader is ahead of Simone Agazzi (ITA / HONDA). Luis Oliveira (POR / PROTO) is relegated 3rd because of a 23 minutes penalty. Another blow for Pal Anders Ullevalseter (NOR / KTM) who was forced to give up half-way because of a new engine problem.
Dominique LAURE :
"It's hard to believe in this victory, it's a big surprise! We stopped twice in the sand without wasting too much time, this is my first rally and I feared the dunes. Yesterday we had troubles in the sand, so today we decided to go slowly and then we accelerated, it ends very well for us. We are finished with the dunes, we are very happy. "
"Where is Vasilyev ?! ... This one was not stolen! We helped each other all day with Fabian, it was the most difficult leg for us. We went into the dunes, we doubled Vasilyev who was stuck in the sand and we did not go out badly. Moreover the radio broke down in the end, we had to communicate in sign language up to the arrival."
"It was difficult ... very hard ... This leg surprised us, we did not expect it, we got stuck in the sand five or six times at the beginning and then we lost another 45 minutes a little further, we are tired by the stress but the ending is good."
"It was even harder than yesterday! There were a lot of difficult dunes to cross and a complicated navigation. I'm happy, the tough part is done, I just have to be carefull without making a mistake until Lac Rose now. "
"Today it was intense, very complicated in the sand but I enjoyed it."
"It was long and very difficult with complicated dunes to cross, but I'm doing well, I ride a lot with Ceci and I managed to finish the last 50 kilometers alone, I'm very happy.
Official press release