Africa Race : Leg 6 - 758 km
After an ideal first week and a resting day, hostilities start again on Africa Race with a 785 KM stage between Agadir and Laayoune. It was quite difficult especially for Thibault Chatelier victim of an accident on a liaison before the Special
and the Russians Andrey Ivanov / Vladimir Demyanenko with a broken engine, both competitors were forced to abandon.
It was 5 in the morning when Josť Manuel Pellicer started the long liaison heading to the Special departure around Oued Chebika on the atlantic coast of South Morroco. An early departure time and wet roads hard to negociate since 3 bikers fell down. Two mild falls for Arnaud Jacquart and Thomas Schattat but more serious for Thibault Chatelier. In fact, the Honda 400 XR driver hurted his hip and fastly evacuated to the Guelmine hospital where he will receive deeper medical exams. A bad end for this young man from Mayenne (France) who was taking part to his first rally.
Even affected by this accident, the small group of Africa Race bikers started the special where everything went this time really fine. Finally, Josť Manuel Pellicer won for the fourth consecutive time by outstripping Arnaud Jacquart, once more suffering of navigation trouble in the last 30 kilometers.
Loosing again 26', the Franco Russian concedes 2 hours on the leader, while the German Thomas Schattat on Yamaha 450 is consolidating his third place on the overall classification.Let's note the position of Olivier Le Coq, last on the overall classification after getting lost on Friday and receiving the maximum penalty.
Regarding the cars, it was another day without any problems for Jean Louis Schlesser. The French imposes his Powerade buggy in front of Abdelhamid Abouyoussef's Toyota buggy and Artem Verenstov's Toyota which got a little bit retarded. Moreover, it wasn't a good day for the Russian competitors : Andrey Ivanov abandonned since his Nissan Pathfinder broke down and the team Serge Savenko / Valery Shukhnov got a little scared.
Just 4 kilometers after the starting line, the Honda buggy went all straight in a turn that was actually clearly described in the road book and therefore went all the way down a hundred meters ravine. As a miracle, the car didn't hurt any rock and stayed on the 4 wheels. The team and the car didn't suffer of any dammage, they just spent some time finding their way out of the canyon but they finally went back into the race. For sure, they had a lot of luck today.
Concerning the trucks, the race is still challenging. Indeed, Jan de Rooy's Iveco managed to finish 2 seconds in front of Miklos Kovacs's Scania despite a punctionned tire and Hans Bekx puts his Daf on the 3rd position, at 2'41. However he's still leader in front of De Rooy on the overall classification. Just before tomorrow's first dunes, stage that will lead the Africa Race competitors in Mauritania, the suspense is still intact between the two dutchs trucks.