The last stage!
Before leaving Mauritania for a long liaison to Senegal and the bivouac of Kebemer, there was an ultimate stage of 203,40km for the 2011 Africa Eco Race, all in the sand. It allows to establish the final overall classification of the race.
A last difficulty for all the crews still in the race, who are looking for the last finish line, on sunday, in the Lac Rose.
This stage was important for the final classification, because it was the last one, and we now know who are the winners, category by category.
First in the start line this morning, Jean-Louis Schlesser and Céline Merle-Beral (Monster Buggy), leaders in the car category, just had to manage their advance of nearly two hours on the VW TDI Buggy of the Belgians Stéphane Henrard and François Beguin. The leaders, quickly caught up by the SMG Buggy of Patrick Sireyjol and Patrick Antoniolli, had lead all the stage. Sireyjol won the stage, whereas Schlesser won the race, the third victory in a row on the Africa Eco Race. The “boss” is ahead of Stéphane Henrard. Jérome Pélichet and Eugénie Decré (Wildcat Bowler) are also in the podium of the car category in this 2011 edition, after a beautiful stage, with a fight with the Desert Warrior of Abouyoussef and Nour El Din, who are finally fourth in the overall classification.
Less happy for the final start, François Lethier, who did a somersault yesterday, was unable to race today…
This ultimate official stage was really interesting in the truck category. First to start this morning, the MAN of the Belgian Noel Essers was lying on its side 25 km after the start. Tomas Tomecek (Tatra), Elisabete Jacinto (MAN), Michel Salavatore (Mercedes) and their teammates tried to help the red truck; but after an hour of tries, they had to ask the balais truck for some help. At the end of the stage, the Czech Tomecek and Moravek won logically this edition, ahead of Elisabete Jacinto MAN’s. Noel Essers, unlucky today, will maybe lost his third place in the overall classification because of this misfortune…
We know since a few days that Willy Jobard, on his KTM 525 Hybrid, is the winner of the motorbike category. The French rider was riding safely today, and he wins his first victory in a major African rally. Finally, the second is Norbert Dubois (KTM 690), who won the stage today, and the third is Bruno N’Diaye. Well done as well to Thomas Bourgin, who had fall in Morocco, but who is still in the race despite of his injuries…
Tomorrow, all the crews are going to the Lac Rose by the beach, for the last stage of the race, but this stage won’t be taken in account for the overall classification. A show stage to closed this 2011 Africa Eco Race edition.
WHAT THEY SAID
Willy Jobard (Fra/KTM 525 Hybride) : « What a beautiful rally! I will never forget this experience. It was amazing, with a lot of navigation. I am so happy and proud to win because even if there were not a lot of bikes, it was a huge fight against the others…and myself. I advice all the riders to come here to enjoy themselves…
Norbert Dubois (Fra/KTM 690) : « I had some problems with the navigation because of my GPS which didn’t work today… I had to stop for ten minutes to fix it. Then, everything was fine. I rode wide-open. Now, I understand the navigation. It is a necessity in the Africa Eco Race, but it is amazing, it is not as in some other races, where you just have to follow the lines.. »
Patrick Sireyjol (Fra/Buggy SMG) : « I am glad to win the last official stage. We had a good fight with Jean-Louis and Stéphane. It was a good reward for this tough but positive experience. It was my first race with a two-wheel drive. We still have a lot of work to do on the car. For sure, I will come back next year because this race is amazing!
Jean-Louis Schlesser (Fra/Buggy Original) : «We had to manage until the end, without doing any mistake. I am so glad to win this third rally in a row, furthermore because the level is still increasing. I thought that after my problems of the first two stages, it would have been difficult to win. I had to work hard…
Stéphane Henrard (Bel/Buggy VW TDI) : « What a beautiful rally with, at the end, a good second position in the overall classification, after our problems in Morocco. We had a lack of testing, and it was a big problem for the first days, but we proved that our car is really good in this kind of trails. It was particularly encouraging. I was also really glad to go back to Africa, because it is a really good place for this kind of race.
Jérôme Pélichet (Fra/Bowler Wildcat) : « We had a fight with Mido in this last stage. It was really good. I was surprised to lead in Morocco and finally, this third position behind the big Buggies is an excellent result. »
‘Mido’ Abouyoussef (Egy/Desert Warrior) : «It was an amazing last official stage. Our finally fourth position is undreamed-of. We were regular, that’s why we are good. Africa is my continent and I like very much to drive in the sand. Moreover, Mahmoud, my co-driver, didn’t do any mistake in 6000km… It is really important as well… »