Africa Race : Leg 12 - 191 km
The pink colour of the Lac Retba means that its spirits are marked with good intentions. Those who know the place and who came to attend the finish of the first Africa Race agreed to say that they had never seen the lake displaying such a bright
pink colour before. For some of them, it was the sign of a very well set up event.
During the last briefing which took place last night in the bivouac located in the mouth of the Senegal river mouth, René Metge insisted on the fact that every competitors had to be very careful until they reached the entry of the parc fermé at the hotel Mériden Président of Dakar. He was heard since the Africa Race finished without almost any problem.
Indeed, the leader of the bike category José Manuel Pellicer broke down at km 79 in the liaison leading to the final podium. He was luckily driving with both Italian riders Michele Galizia and Carlo Alberto Migliazza who towed him to the finish line.
A chance for the BMW rider who indisputably deserved to cross the finish line after his perfect 15 day race across Africa. The Spaniard has dominated the bike overall category as well as the 450 category. His enduro machine prepared with BMW Spain was the best one since it finishes before the Arnaud Jacquart's 690 KTM. The Frenchman won the last stage but was filled with dread when he almost fell after a jump. But it was not the case and Arnaud has been able to celebrate his second place with his fellow-rally men Thomas Schattat, third with his yamaha and Senegalese Jean Hugues Moneyron who came fourth.
Besides, the three riders shared champagne with the other bike riders and raiders, another proof of the conviviality that ruled among the Africa Race bikers' community.
As expected in the car category, the Jean Louis Schlesser and Arnaud Debron's Powerade Buggy, crossed first the finish line. There they were welcomed by a senegalese sports minister representative who came especially to congratulate the winner. Once again, Jean Louis confessed that he was pleased with his participation in this first Africa Race and thanked the organization staff for their great work before and during the event.
Behind him, the Russian laureates Artem Varentsov and Roman Elagin, second behind the wheel of a non-modified Toyota Landcruiser, joined the finish line under the spectators' thunders of applause. Then Abdelhamid Abouyoussef and Hervé Cotel came with their Toyota Cotel Buggy which won this very last stage leading to the Lac Rose.
In the truck category, Jan De Rooy used the 900 hp of his IVECO to win this last timed sector. The Dutchman finishes before Giacomo Vismara's Unimog and Hans Bekx's Man. Miklos Kovacs finished fourth. Following a strong braking in the sand, the latter remained blocked and finished more than 6 minutes after De Rooy. Jan De Rooy finishes first of the final overall ranking with 10'56'' over his team-mate Hans Bekx and 37'13'' over the Hungarian Miklos Kovacs, the revelation of the Africa Race. Living legend of african truck races, Jan De Rooy takes for the second time a final victory in Dakar, 22 years after his first victory on the African continent.
After the podium at the Lac Rose, the competitors of the Africa Race joined the hotel Méridien Président located on the Pointe des Almadies in Dakar where they were welcomed by the Nouvelles Frontières Senegal staff, one of the partners of the event. A prize-giving ceremony beautifully put an end to this unforgettable first Africa Race.