While waiting for the Dakar Rally this coming weekend, the original African Dakar route is still being tracked by the Africa Eco Race with Pal Anders Ullevalseter taking the win during the stage two. Setting the 10th edition of the race, the Africa Eco Race had the contestants battle from Monaco to Dakar, Sengal in Norther Africa.
An incredible race was given to the riders during the second Moroccan Day, including a 443 kilometres leg among dunes and rocky tracks underneath a scorching heat of the sun. With this environment at hand, it is exhilarating for both the riders and the spectors. True abilities were tested and the riders skills to adapt and dwell in unpredictable environment was observed.
Following a small 28-kilometre sprint with the intention of seeing the earliest bike send-off at 7:15 in the morning, every one of the participant united Merzouga to begin the leg. The well-known dunes near to the Erg Chebbi presented equally a challenge in both direction-finding and driving difficulties, in particular on the sand which is mostly soft for the reason of the heat. The two places of interest of the day were passing the Oued Draa, which is frequently soft during this time of the year, and the Erg Chegaga which is over and over again complicated to cross.
Pål Anders Ullevalseter (NOR / KTM) and Paolo Ceci (ITA / KTM) were the ones who were competing neck to neck in the motorbike category. All throughout the race, neither of the two riders is letting their guards down as both are eager to win the title. But in the end, it was Ullevalseter who manages to take the lead and crossed the finish line with only a 3 second margin ahead of his opponent.
“It was a great leg with lots of dunes, I caught up with Paolo, thanks to his navigation mistakes,” said Pål Anders Ullevalseter.
“I tried to overtake him but it took me a lot of time because he’s really really fast.”
Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov were the overall victors for the four wheels category. They celebrated by throwing themselves bottles of water after crossing the finish line. It was a well deserved win for the team as the organizers congratulated them after a tiring 4h50’25 of race.
“You did not even burst, bravo!,” told Jean-Louis Schlesser the former teammate of the best co-driver of the day.
In second place were Mathieu Serradori and Fabian Lurquin (FRA / MCM) who finished 1’56 after the winner of the day. Third place went to Pascal Thomasse and Pascal Larroque (FRA / OPTIMUS) 14’26 behind the leading team.
Serradori Racing Team took the second place in overall. Not bad for ending the day. While it was a rough day for Gerard De Rooy, Darek Rodewald and Moi Torrellardona (IVECO) who arrive at the finishing line 1h05’46” at the back of the leader and didn’t managed to climbed up the podium.
For the unlucky ones, the evening will seem to be extended as they will have a hard time figuring out the right direction with all the obstacles and darkness in their way. The day’s leg discovered the whole thing you can find in the toughest routes in the greatest African raids.
They will arrive at the bivouac too late at night following an extremely enlightening familiarity on navigating in the dunes.