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This is the single-news section of the news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Africa Race: A Calm first Stage in the north of Morocco.

The Africa Race caravan has reached Africa this morning at 8 in Nador, a port city located on the mediterranean coast in the north of Morocco. After a 36 hour journey accross the sea, the 23 race vehicles got out of the ferry and started immediately the first 691 km stage. The selective Spéciale was shortened from 170 to 117 km due to matters of timing.

It was an easy first stage for the bike riders and especially for Juan Manuel Pellicer who was the first to cross the finish line. "I first had to knwo more about my new bike, the Rally 450 BMW, and I confess that I have been pleasantly surprised by its engine and its sane chassis. Navigating was not so easy but I did not get lost and the end of the Spéciale was very fast. It was an opportunity to see how fast this bike could go."

The Spaniard has taken the first place of the bike category of the Africa Race. The Frenchman Arnaud Jacquard, very disappointed after having left the BMW rider get away because of a wrong choice in his route, is second. The German rider Thomas Schattat has appeared twenty minutes after the leader at the third rank.

No problem in the car category either. All the competitors crossed the finish line with Jean Louis Schlesser as leader. The "Boss" felt very touched following this victory on the first stage of the very first edition of the Africa Race. The Ford Buggy has finished before the astonishing François Lethier’s Toyota Landcruiser, a non-modified car which has outclassed the T1 prototypes and especially the Fernando Puebla Gil’s Suzuki appearing at the third rank, ten minutes behind Schlesser. For their first african rally stage, two kilometres far from the finish line, the Lorenzinis experienced their first misadventure puncturing two tyres at the same time followed by problems with their lifting jack.

If cars and bikes have had no problems during this first stage, problems emerged in the truck category. Both De Rooy Team’s trucks got lost and conceded more than 25 minutes to the benefit of the Hungarian Miclos Kovac’s SCANIA and the Italian Giacomo Vismara’s Mercedes Unimog which finished respectively first and second. In other words, we can say that Jan de Rooy was not a happy man while answering the Africa Race TV-staff interview.

After the Spéciale, a 280 km Liaison was still to be covered to reach the bivouac set up with the support of the Moroccan National Tourist Office, one of the main Africa race partner, located in Boutnib. A perilous exercice if we consider the low temperature and the strong wind which was blowing in this region of Morocco at the end of the afternoon.

The second stage, a 334 km Spéciale for a total of 588 km, will conduct the competitors towards Ouarzazate. The bivouac settled there near the lake will welcome the Africa Race caravan to celebrate New Year ’s Eve under the moroccan starry sky.

Overall Standings after Leg 1 Nador-Boutnib - Motobikes

01) Pellicer, Juan manuel (E) I BMW I 01:28:36 I 00:00:00
02) Jacquart, Arnaud (F) I KTM I 01:35:10 I 00:06:34
03) Schattat, Thomas (D) I Yamaha I 01:50:14 I 00:21:38
04) Moneyron, Jean hugues (SN) I KTM I 02:07:22 I 00:38:46
05) Leo Cocq, Olivier (F) I Honda I 02:09:29 I 00:40:53

Overall Standings after Leg 1 Nador-Boutnib - Cars

1) Schlesser/Debron (F) I Schlesser Ford I 01:21:12 I 00:00:00
2) Lethier/Pellen (F) I Toyota Landcruiser I 01:26:42 I 00:05:30
3) Puebla Gil/Lardon Olmeda (E) I Suzuki Vitara I 01:29:57 I 00:08:45
4) Ivanov/Demyanenko (RUS) I Nissan Patrol I 01:34:57 I 00:13:45
5) Varentsov/Elagin (RUS) I Toyota Landcruiser I 01:37:36 I 00:16:24

Overall Standings after Leg 1 Nador-Boutnib - Trucks

1) Kovacs/Czegledi/Toth (HU) I Scania 4x4 I 01:29:46 I 00:00:00
2) Vismara/Verzeletti (I) I Mercedes Unimog I 01:41:14 I 00:11:28
3) Bekx/Maessen/Willems (NL) I DAF I 01:56:16 I 00:26:30
4) De Rooy/Colebunders/Rodewald (NL) I Ginaf-Iveco I 01:56:44 I 00:26:58

2008/12/31 | 16:21 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Africa Race

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