|Africa Eco Race: The 5th Sonangol Africa Eco Race is on it´s way to Senegal|
Another memorable moment was the passage of Jean Louis Schlesser, quadruple winner of the rally. In an interview, the Buggy Sonangol driver expressed his ambitions for a 5th title.
The World Champion however underlined the quality of his rivals including the Overdrive Toyota Hilux Pickup of Jérôme Pelichet as well as Belgians Jacky Loomans and Joost van Cauwenberge, Miroslav Zapletal with his Hummer H3 and the RMA buggy of Hubert Auriol, still just as enthusiastic about getting to Africa.
The biggest applause of the evening went to a local team comprising of Xavier Lormand and Guillaume Jorda, also in a RMA buggy. The two friends who are part of the association Saint Cyp Lovely Place, helped with the organisation last year. This year, they lined up with the other competitors to fight it out for the title. They received a rock star welcome for their efforts!
Earlier on in the day, the administrative and technical verifications took place and this had already attracted many spectators. Under brilliant weather conditions, the tourist office welcomed us to Saint Cyprien and the car park was full all afternoon.
Amongst the visitors, we found Cyril Despres, official KTM rider and one of the best specialists of the discipline. Only a few days before he leaves for South America to defend his World title, Despres came to support his friends at the Sonangol Africa Eco Race.
Another personality who attracted lots of attention was Louis Burton, the lone driver who was back racing after abandoning in the Vendée Globe. Taking part in his first African adventure, the young Parisian persuaded his sponsors to donate two tons of school material that he would deliver to a Senegal village. The material will be transported by the rally organisation and delivered the day that they arrive.
Meanwhile, the 60 cars and 30 bikes will travel 6000 km including almost 4000 km of Specials. After a night at sea and their arrival in Nador in the North of Morocco, the first stage of the rally will take the competitors as far as Boudnib after 657 km of which 245 km is a selective sector. A difficult start in the terms of navigation but a magnificent stage in terms of driving at the heart of the breathtaking Moroccan countryside.
2013/01/04 | 11:35 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/AER