Africa Eco Race 2015: report Stage 8

africa_eco_race_2015_leg8_eng1Even if the day was difficult for a lot of people, only three vehicles did not make it to the Africa Eco Race 2015 bivouac in Azougui yesterday morning, namely Noel ESSERS and his truck which is still stuck in the dunes as well as David FRETIGNE and Bernard MONTAZ who have their bikes on the balai truck. On the other hand, 11 participants arrived way to late to be at the start of the Azougui loop ( stage 8 ), so they spent the day reparing if needed or also resting to charge their batteries in order to get back in the race. As a result, only 21 bikes and 28 auto/truck took the start at 8am yesterday morning for one of the nicest stage of Africa Eco Race 2015.

Once again, the bikers are the ones who managed the difficulties best as only 3 of them were missing at the finish at 5pm. Austria’s Robert THEURETZBACHER who started in 2nd place managed to catch up on Pal Anders ULLEVALSETER. This brings the Austrian to his second stage victory in the Africa Eco Race 2015. A situation which the Norwegian did not really appreciate, and even if he is still leading the general standings, he adviced THEURETZBACHER to clean his air filter for today. The Austrian answered back, saying that by following him, he would reduce the error margin and therefore keep his second place in the general ranks. A debate which distracted the assistances at the finish as we had to wait nearly 13 minutes to see Ingo WALDSCHMIDT, 3rd of the day, cross the line in front of Gilles VANDERVEYEN 21’53’’ behind the Namibian. As a result, the Belgian sees WALDSCHMIDT catch up under 30 minutes behind therefore the battle for 3rd place should be spectacular.

africa_eco_race_2015_leg8_eng2For some of the other performers of the day, Vadim PRITULYAK finishes 5th whereas Stefano PELLONI is 9th after losing himself after CP1. A shame as he had catched up on the leaders. Also to not forget, Anastasiya NIFONTOVA ends the day 10th and with a large smile on her face even though she was marked by the effort.

On four wheels, the 8th day of Africa Eco Race 2015 was way more complicated as for the bikes. Why? Because of dunes, where a lot of the participants got stuck and had a very hard time to get out of. Due to this, the spreads are becoming quite impressive as out of the top 5, all the others finish over an our behind and only about 20 arrived at the bivouac and stamped their end of stage.

The big winner of the day is Jean Antoine SABATIER who’s BUGGA ONE ended the 357 km long stage in a bit more of 5 hours. At the end of the stage, the French-Moroccan paid tribute to the quality of the Didier HAQUETTE’s ( SERRADORI’s co-pilot ) navigation. Indeed, the Predator of Mathieu SERRADORI opened the track but due to a puncture, SABATIER found the way to pass him around km 60, losing over 14 minutes. But he still leads the overall standings as SHIBALOV and his KAMAZ did some errors and ended the day in 5th position.

The only 4WD car who managed well is the OSCAR of Anton GRIGOROV, 3rd of the day at 24’11’’, in front of the KAMAZ of Sergey KUPRIANOV. Superb performance from Patrick MARTIN and his VW TAREK as he finishes in 6th position in front of Kazakhstan’s SHAGIROV and SAZONOV.
This type of stage is a good way to show how some drivers can be performant in difficult conditions. Jacques BRUN is a perfect example as he ends the day in 11th position at the wheel of his BOWLER in front of Thierry MAURY and his NISSAN pick up and Marat ABYKAYEV 13th overall and 1st in T2 class of Africa Eco Race 2015.

africa_eco_race_2015_leg8_eng3In the trucks category, Apart from the two KAMAZ of Sergey KUPRIANOV, 4th with a time of 28’43“ and Anton SHIBALOV, 5th with a time of 39’46“, the MAN of Elisabete JACINTO finishes 9th within 2 hours, the SCANIA of Miklos KOVACS places himself 10th with more than 2 hours while Tomas TOMECEK, who is a specialist when it comes to the sand stages, only takes 14th place with about three and a half hours.

Today, the 9th stage of the Africa Eco Race 2015 will bring the competitors from Azougui to Akjoujt on a 367 km long stage, very similar to the passed two ones.

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