Africa Race : Leg 3 - 832 km
With only 305 Km instead of the 492 KM initially planned, this third Africa Race's Special kept all its promises. While describing today's Special, René Metge evoked some surprises concerning the rocky tracks. The Sporting Director didn't knew
he was going to be so right.
For the first time since the prototypes are forbidden in trucks category, one of these desert giant got the scratch, in front of all bikes and cars. This performance is due to the Dutch driver Hans Bekx thanks to his De Rooy team's DAF. The team actually nearly doubled this victory ; in fact the boss Jan De Rooy led the whole stage until 5 KM before the finish line.
Unfortunately, the Dutch's Iveco hit the truck in a cut seriously damaging the steering gear. Thirty minutes stop were necessary to try fixing it the best he could, but he finally reached the arrival only 18'18” behind Hans Bekx, the new leader of the truck's category. With less than a 17 minutes gap between the 2 Dutchs but still about an hour ahead the Hungarian Miklos Kovacs on Scania and Giocomo Visamaras's Unimog, the truck race will be passionate for sure.
Good player, the car racer Jean Louis Schlesser congratulated Hans Bekx on the arrival line. The car's leader had quite a rough day as the Russian Andrey Ivanov beat him once more of three minutes.
This surprising timing is due to a rim crack on the Powerade buggy.
Jean Louis Schlesser himself was amazed: “Since the beginning I felt the car had an unusual performance. We've tried to analyze the problem with my copilot Arnaud, we have lost a lot of time before realizing we had to change the hiten wheel. Nothing bad for the classification but Ivanov is getting closer and we'd better keep our eyes open … and now on the trucks as well !”
After encountering problems on the Toyota's shock absorbers, the Franco Moroccan team François Lethier and Renaud Pellen appeared third on today's Special. Once again, it's a great result for a T2 vehicle that we can now find fifth on the general classification, behind the Russian Artem Varentov's Toyota Land Cruiser and the buggy of the Egyptian Abdelhamid Abouyoussef who chose to be careful.
As for the bikes, the Spanish Juan Manuel Pellicer apprehended this Special where he had a bad fall in 2006. However he succeeds with his BMW 450 in front of Arnaud Jacquart's powerful KTM 690 navigating without his material broken on a bad fall to avoid a local truck.
On the General Overall, Pellicer is 8 minutes ahead while the German Thomas Schattat, the Senegalese Jean Hughes Moneyron and the French Thibault Chatelier piloting usually together are respectively 3rd, 4th and 5th.
A quick word to finish on the 2 raid bikers, Laurent Casters and Marc Berinstain who chose to leave the Africa Race without the timing pressure, are enjoying the experience. The followed about 80% of the stage and plan to reach Dakar.
Friday, because of the strong rains which hit the Moroccan's Atlantic coast these days, the circle around Fort Bou Jerif has been shortened. This decision isn't such bad news as the competitors are already showing some signs of fatigue by the Africa Race rhythm.