|Africa Eco Race: Benielli, Kovacs and Jobard winner of 1st stage in Morocco.|
After a night on the boat between Spain and Morocco, this 3rd Africa Eco Race is in Africa since Wednesday morning. During this first stage, which was far from being easy, smoothness of the driver and intelligence of the Co-pilot were a necessity. A short but difficult and tough stage, it was obviously a René Metge‘s one, Head of the Race.
Willy Jobard won the stage on the motorbike category, while Gérard Benielli took the first place on the car race. Miklos Kovacs (winner of the last edition) overcame the truck race. Elisabete Jacinto, not at her top level because of the flu, is second.
While they were leaving Nador’s port this morning, riders thought that the first stage should be easy. What a mistake! The stage was only 150 kilometers long, but it was really difficult, regarding both driving and navigation difficulties. The beginning of the stage was tricky, slippery and muddy, because of the rain of the last past weeks.
The second part, faster, was better for the buggys, more nimble. But the main difficulty of the stage was the navigation, and some riders were a little bit lost.
Finally, Gérard Benieilli was the best, ahead of Régis Delahay, Stéphane Henrard and François Lethier. Jérome Pelichet is fifth, first of the Bowler. Behind him are Mido Abouyoussef, Jacky Loomans, Jean-Louis Schlesser (with Céline Merle-Beral, a journalist, for whom it was the first experience racing), Jean-Noel Julien (without power-steering for the last 40km), and Gilles Florin. Hubert Auriol had to do some mechanics, because of a breakdown.
A lot of teams, including some of the best, had some difficulties to find their way. They lost some time, but it was just the first stage and Dakar is still far away
Miklos Kovacs, smiling after the final line, was the fastest. Well-trained, the Hungarian was strong in front of a tough competition. Elisabete Jacinto, who has the flu, is waiting for feeling better. Tomas Tomecek, Noel Essers, Tavi Tielen and Michel Salavatore are just behind them.
In the motorbike category, Thomas Bourgin was the first to take the trail this morning. It is always difficult to do that, but the youngest of these riders is second, behind Willy Jobard, winner of the day. Bruno N’Diaye is third, ahead of Norbert Dubois, who fell down but without hurting himself nor his bike. He was a little bit surprised regarding the level of the navigation, but was satisfied with his performance.
2010/12/30 | 14:46 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/ARPIZOU