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Africa Eco Race 2018: Vladimir Vasilyev for a good win, Paolo Ceci big leader

The fourth day in Morocco is a first with the longest leg of the Africa Eco Race since its creation. 497 kilometers with fast tracks and some sand. It’s been a big fight in cars between Vasilyev and Serradori, in motorbikes Paolo Ceci settles his leadership.

Vladimir Vasilyev
The west rush
For this big premiere, the competitors drove close to the Oued Draa for a few kilometers on a sandy part before the rocks where the navigators had to be very focused. Ater M’seied a wide track brought them to the southern Moroccan desert. The vehicles got into some more fast tracks in the heart of massive plains with no much landscape and thus not many visual point to navigate with. It is a very complicated section with many possibilities to go in the wrong direction. As they got closer to the Oued Hamra things went harder. Totally flooded a year ago, all the tracks have disappeared, it has therefore become an off road section not easy to escape. Finally, they had to come across a dune before finishing the stage on e very fast wide track all the way to the bivouac in Fort Chacal.

Vasilyev as boss, Ullevalseter out

The long awaited auto duel of this edition is launched. The defending crew Vladimir Vasilyev – Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS / MINI) and Mathieu Serradori – Fabian Lurquin (FRA / MCM) have engaged in an intense battle full of twists and turns. Leading, the French had to slow down in the last part of the leg because of a power steering problem. The Russians were able to take advantage but three punctures made them waste time and the two cars passed each other before Vasilyev won the final sprint 3’21” before Serradori. Pascal Thomasse and Pascal Larroque (FRA / OPTIMUS) confirm their 3rd place overall by finishing just in front of their partners at MD Rally Sport Guillaume Gomez and François Borsotto (FRA / OPTIMUS) who managed to finish the leg without mechanical problems.
In the motorbikes, very difficult day for the double winner Pal Anders Ullevalseter (NOR / KTM). His chances of winning this year are compromised because of a fuel tank problem that forced him to abandon the leg after 100 kilometers of racing. Paolo Ceci takes the opportunity to consolidate his leading position by winning the stage of the day 8’52” ahead of Luis Oliveira (POR / YAMAHA). A good operation for the Portuguese who takes the 2nd place in the overall ranking.

Vladimir VASILYEV :

“It was a great leg but Jean-Louis Schlesser did not spare us the punctures … After three tires dead we did not have a spare wheel anymore! It was difficult especially at the end in navigation, we still have two minutes ahead of Serradori, it was a great fight today, we did not stop crossing each other, it was great. “

Mathieu Serradori :

“We opened the track with a good navigation before engaging in a great battle with the Russians, it was very intense! After 414 kilometers of racing I had no more power steering, it was very difficult to turn the wheels in the dunes but we wanted to finish and had to slow down. Finally we are doing very well thanks to Vasilyev’s misadventures. Now we will have to repair and come back tomorrow.”

Gérard DE ROOY :

“It was a long day but a very nice leg with a lot of navigation, I got lost once, the truck was fine, I drove slowly knowing that I did not have anyone behind me. I preferred to be careful. “

Pascal Thomasse :

“I did not see the time pass, it’s weird, I found it short … We had fun, I have a very good navigator, it was a beautiful day and the car is still going good. We remain optimistic even if it will be difficult to win.”

Paolo CECI :

“It was a difficult leg with the navigation but I did not make any mistake, I drove with Oliveira up to 30 kilometers from the finish, physically I feel good but I’m disappointed because I could not fight with Ullevalseter. “

Luis OLIVEIRA :

“I’m still learning, it was a good day for me, I passed Ceci after 40 kilometers of racing and I opened the track for a while then I got lost and ended up finding Paolo’s tracks until the finish. “

Paolo Ceci

***
RESULTS 4th stage : Assa / Fort Chacal : 499km 
Car / Truck:
1. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) 04 :47 :09
2. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) + 00 :03 :21
3. Pascal Thomasse / Pascal Larroque n°206 (FRA) + 00 :09 :28
Bike:
1. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) 05 :38 :57
2. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) + 00 :08 :52
3. Simone Agazzi n°120 (ITA) + 00 :35 :02

Overall:*
Car / Truck:
1. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) 14 :28 :30
2. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) + 00 :10 :23
3. Pascal Thomasse / Pascal Larroque n°206 (FRA) + 00 :43 :56
Bike:
1. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) 17 :39 :59
2. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) + 00 :43 :58
3. Rui Oliveira n°115 (POR) + 02 :19 :52

▪    Provisional results, subject to changes in ranking after jury deliberation

Source Official press release

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