|Africa Eco Race: René Metge reveals main-lines about 2011 Rally-route.|
Back in France after the last series of "recos", René Metge, Sporting Director of the Africa Eco Race, reveals the main lines of the 2011 route. With former Rally-navigator José Maria Servia, Metge put the last touch on the details of a route showing a new face of Africa, qualified of surprising: An amazing and rare face where the nature took back its rights.
"On the Moroccan part, the itinerary appreciably changed. We erased what did not satisfy us completely to retain only the best. The mythical Pass of Belkassem will be on the program! The navigation will be very present, even surprising, through simply magnificent landscapes, alternately hilly, flat or steep-sided. For the rest day, towards Tan Tan, we chose a quite new bivouac by the sea which will seduce the most demanding.
Then, straight to Mauritania - I must say I discovered a new country this year. Despite of the uncountable journeys I made there, I have never seen such a scenery. The last months’ rain modified, not only the landscape, but also the relief of certain areas. The strength of wadies made sometimes disappear, partially or totally, some dunes. The most striking were doubtless the process operated in the White Valley.
Other consequence of this bad weather (thanks to the vegetation which made its reappearance), gigantic flocks of sheep or goats are back on some territories. A real breath of oxygen for the country and its population. With some more rain by the end of October, Mauritania would have three or four spare years of water. A godsend for this region of Africa hardly touched by the drought in the past!
Just like last year, we’ll not have any marathon stage but this time two loops in Mauritania. In the region of Akjouj, the route totally changed and the new itinerary is (on my opinion) brilliant! The approach is different with many beautiful hors-piste sections and difficulties going crescendo. The beginning of the stage is great with forty kilometers of dunes - but don’t be afraid, you’ll not have 40 km of dunes to cross!!!
The second loop will alternate crossings, hors-piste, fast tracks but it will be essential to keep its course not to lose sight of the ideal track through the quite new vegetation. The last stage towards Senegal will not be either a formality. The ultimate bivouac of this third edition will be settled under baobabs (secular trees, symbols of Senegal) before reaching the mythical and always so surprising Lake Rose.
The 2011 route is not the copy of 2010. We adapted the itinerary to the natural changes to propose, once again, a high-quality route. The sporting challenge will be real and, as usual, regions and crossed landscapes will be magical! Africa Eco Race didn’t stop surprising you."
2010/10/21 | 20:19 CET | EDITOR: MR/HS/METGE