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Optic Tunisa: The biggest African Marathonrally of the year.

First step of the rally world cup, the 2008 Tunisian race is going to cross 3 countries, with 4.123 km of race, of which 2.883 km of selectioned sectors. With 97 motorbikes and quads, 91 cars, 11 trucks in the race and 110 help vehicles, the Tunisian rally sets itself as the biggest African rally of the year.

The journey of this rally will be unseen: The departure will be in Europe on the 23th of April (checkout and nocturnal prologue in Marseille), then crossing over the mediteranean sea by boat, and 9 steps in Africa through 2 frontier countries: Libya and Tunisia. For the first time in 27 editions, the rally enters Libya for a 4 steps loop, with some breathtaking barren landscapes and the famous cathedrale dunes,...the rally will be "sand colour", with a 1.061 kilometres long marathon step between Idri and Sinawin which is going to be trying for vehicles and men alike!

To be noted, 3 Tunisian teams and one Libyan team are registered in the car race, and 7 Tunisian racers in the motorbike race. Without forgetting the acknowlegded work of the 24 comissioners and authoritative from the NACT and the FTM, who take care about the good course of this international competition.

It's difficult to say now who will victoriously cross the finishing line in Djerba (Tunisia) on the next 3rd May among the 311 registered racers, coming from30 different countries. In the car race, the battle will be hard between two different categories of vehicles : Christian Lavieille (Nissan Dessoude) , Paulo Nobre (BMW X-Raid), Orlando Terranova (BMW X-Raid), Leonid Novitski (Mitsubishi) and Krzysztof Holowczyc (Nissan Overdrive), all on protos 4x4.

José Luis Monterde (Schlesser Aventures), Eric Vigouroux (Chevrolet Pro tech), Dominique Housieaux (Schlesser Aventures), Lukasz Komorniki (SMG), Bernard Errandonéa (SMG), for the battle in 2WD. To follow also, Jérôme Pélichet's race (Bowler), Jean-Noel Julien (Renault mégane MD Rallye Sport), Laurent Bourgnon on a Nissan Springbok prototype (MD Rallye Sport), and Kenjiro Shinozuka (Nissan Tecnosport).

In the T2 category, class vehicles, we can expect a hectic competition between Laurent Rosso (Nissan Dessoude), Jean Pierre strugo (Nissan Dessoude), and adelio machado (Toyota Padock). In the Open Class, the race will be fought by 11 pilotes on proto or old vehicles. At last, in Desert Tracking, 12 teams will fight for victory in "race regularity", on the rally's course.

Concerning trucks, a first choice competition with 11 registered vehicles : Tomas Tomecek teams (Tatra), Giacomo Vismara (Mercedes) and Elisabeth Jacinto (Man) aiming for the first step of the podium. In the motorbikes list, be especially alert of the race between Michel Marchini (Yamaha HFP) and Thierry Bethys (Honda TB Racing), and of course Stan Watt (Ktm Frontrow), Oscar Polli (Ktm Freeracing), Christophe Meillat (Kawasaki), Olivier Pain and Michael Pisano (both on Yamaha HFP).

Ludivine Puy, European enduro champion on her KTM 690 (team Easydentic) and the french proto Sherco driven by Laurent Le Gat shall give us many sensations! In the Enduro Cup, a novelty in the 2008 Tunisian rally (class-only motorbikes with a refueling all the 80 kilometres), the experienced Gilles Tixador (Ktm - Sport Police) appears as favourite.

Sum-total, the rally's caravan represents nearly 1.000 people and 350 vehicles. Monitoring the good course of the competition, NPO spreads out more than 160 people, with the help of French,Tunisian and Libyan rescuers, policemen and militaries. Security is insurred by 18 doctors, 3 helicopters, 2 planes, 4 "tangos" vehicles, 2 "friends" rescuers on motorbikes and a medical post. Each competitor will get a satellite system giving their position at every moment, an anticollision plan and a direct phonic link with the PC Course.

2008/04/18 | 04:10 CET | Editor: MR/HS/NPO

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