|Africa Eco Race: Jean L. Schlesser - "It's always a great joy to return to Africa".|
In Saint Cyprien a large crowd of excited spectators got to see the new buggy go through scrutineering, but then it was a long drive to Almeria where there ferry was waiting to take all the competitors to Nador in Morocco, but then the event's first stage, 622 km, with 277km of special awaited where Jean Louis' new co-driver Cyril Esquirol, triple Enduro World Champion had his baptism of fire.
It couldn't have been any harder with constant changes of direction, very tricky parts where a wheel wrong would mean that you are in the stones... and many, many turnings. For Schlesser it was a warm-up rather than an all-out attack.
"It's always a great joy to return to Africa, but I still have nerves about throwing myself into a special stage - and I was right to be nervous and in a traditional Moroccan stage, it was particularly rough" Jean Louis Schlesser said after the stage.
"For his first day beside me as my new co-driver Cyril Esquirol had a lot of work to do with the many changes of direction and succession of difficulties. He did a good job and even though we lost some time due to a lack of coordination, he learned very quickly and I am sure we will soon working together fine. Also our new Schlesser Buggy Sonangol worked perfectly. The new developments made a notable difference, so I am really confident for the future."
And confident he should be, as with a new car and a new co-driver the team took second overall on this particularly difficult stage, especially as Schlesser wasn't at all fatigued as he climbed from the cabin. Although his new co-driver was slightly less than relaxed.
"I had a busy day. I was pretty stressed this morning before the start because I had no idea if I would be at the level of talent for Jean Louis. I'm a little reassured though because even though I struggled to keep up with the many note in the road book we only lost a little time. Jean-Louis is a great teacher and an amazing driver and although I still haven't perfected everything I have to say that I really enjoyed it!"
Tomorrow, the Sonangol Schlesser Buggy will start second on the special that will lead competitors to Mhamid. Rene Metge has said that this 375km is rolling, pleasant and will have the first dunes... a stage that Jean Louis Schlesser and Cyril Esquirol hope will be one that helps them towards their first victory in the Africa Eco Race.
2011/12/30 | 20:38 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/SCHLESSER