|Africa Eco Race: The perfect stage for Jean Louis Schlesser.|
The fifth stage was the last one in Morocco and more difficult than the others. The best strategy today was carefull navigation and high speeds on the southern Moroccan tracks. That’s exactly what Jean Louis Schlesser did: “ Today I decided to go quicker to test my co driver! Of course, I’m joking, because his qualities have been proven. No problems at all on the Buggy and Thierry did an excellent navigating job. All is going as planned before the start of Mauritania, that’s a whole other story! ”
Actually, the five time winner of the event had no problems at all while his opponents of the day all had puncture issues. Jackie Loomans arrived 12’49 behind and Jean Antoine Sabatier and his BUGGA ONE passed the line 20’03 behind the stage winner. Michel Turon Barrere had some navigation problems which made him lose 19’02 whilst Balazs Szalays was only 6’01 behind. In the general standings, Schlesser is nearly 40 minutes ahead of Loomans, who is looking forward to the battle in Mauritania.
After yesterday’s win in the trucks ca tegory, Jacinto won her second consecutive stage. The Portugese at the wheel of her MAN took back as much time as she could on Tomas Tomecek and his TATRA which should be way quicker in the Mauritanian dunes. The Czech driver, 9th overall, is only 13’57 ahead of Jacinto, who did her top 10 entry on today’s stage. Right behind, Niklos Kovacs at the wheel of his SCANIA didn’t manage to take avantage of his start in front of his opponents. Even Noël Essers was faster – he has incredible speed considering his MAN is also driving as fast assistance for Jacky Loomans.
“I decided to push harder today after yesterday stage, which was good in terms of navigation but not quick enough. I caught up Nobert quickly as he did a mistake, after that I pushed hard and took few risks, my trip was showing 178km/h top speed, which is a bit dangerous so early in the morning, but it was necessary and it worked” Those were the words of Dubois at the end of the stage finishing in front of Pisano just like the day before.
Pisano finishes 2nd at 2’02: _ “I tried to take care of my engine on this short quick stage, too quick for my 450 HONDA. If I would have gone faster I wouldn’t be here. I will have to manage this fact in front of my opponents whoich have 690 KTMs, which are way quicker and which better on high speeds. I love the challenge, and if it works, it will have even more value !”_
Nobert Dubois is 3rd of the day at 4’09, just in front of the Moroccan biker, Harite Gabari at 4’22 on his 450 YAMAHA, being very careful. For the rest of the TOP 10, we find the Belgian Backx in 5th position, just in front of Guillaume Martens who came back into the game on today’s stage. The 7th place is for Joris van Dyck who is learning quite quickly, whereas Willy Jobard and his hybrid Zongshen are getting better and better in 8th position. The Italian biker Alessandro Barbero is 10th. Few words concerning Julia Schrenk, the rally queen, the only girl in the bike category. After two days of problems, including one night in the desert, the beautiful Austrian managed to finish today’s stage.
Just before entering the second part of the SONANGOL AFRICA ECO RACE, PISANO still leads, 7’23 in front of Dominique Robin and 31’50 in front of Dubois. This Mauritanian week is going to be very interesting.
Tomorrow, for the resting day, the participants will get the opportunity to rest correctly, on the Bivouac close to Dakhla, situated on the Atlantic Ocean Shore.
2014/01/05 | 15:39 CET | ARTICLE: AER / NH / MR