A new loop was on the programme of the day allowing a little rest for the assistance and the organization who could stay at the bivouac all day long. Meanwhile, the competitors took part in a 340-kilometer stage through the prestigious dunes of Mauritania. A stage full of suspense and surprises.
The most difficult leg
Jean-Louis Schlesser announced last night, the 9th stage of this Africa Eco Race will be the hardest. This is the first time that the route goes so far in eastern Mauritania, with splendid dunes all around. It was difficult to find all the checkpoints in the middle of 100 kilometers of dunes. The whole while avoiding to get stuck in the sand, an exercise at the highest level as much in driving as in navigation.
Vasilyev is back, happy Ullevalseter
It is still a fierce duel between the crews number 201 and 202 that animated the Mauritanian tracks today. New leaders in the overall classification, Mathieu Serradori and Fabian Lurquin (FRA-BEL / MCM) have not managed the feat of doing a perfect leg. Because of three stops on the sand, they end up losing 30 minutes on Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS / MINI) the fastest today despite two punctures. The dunes spared no one, the SRT team preferred to ride carefully and were caught by the Russians at CP3. Starting 14th after a bad day yesterday, Vasilyev crosses the finish line just behind Serradori’s black buggy and is now 48 minutes behind the French-Belgian crew. The truck of Gerard De Rooy (NL / IVECO) which is doing very well in this Mauritanian week, takes second place just ahead of Serradori.
In the motorbikes, the passion of Pal Anders Ullevalseter (NOR / KTM) struck again. After a day of repairing the engine of his KTM, the 49 years old double winner of the event showed that he was still the fastest in the dunes. He won 13’36 “ahead of Simone Agazzi (ITA / HONDA), still happy to continue the adventure despite his 20th place in the overall standings, while young Luis Oliveira (POR / KTM) finishes third just ahead of Paolo Ceci (ITA / KTM). A great day for the Team Ullevalseter as the Norwegian champion’s two protégés achieve their best rally performance on the most complicated leg. Marius Helmersen (NOR / KTM) takes 5th place ahead of his compatriot Felix Jensen (NOR / KTM) about thirty minutes from their master.
Ranking stage 9 Amodjar / Amodjar : 488km*
Car / Truck :
1. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) 04 :30 :47
2. Gerard De Rooy / Darek Rodewald / Moi Torrellardona n°400 (NDL) +00 :17 :26
3. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) +00 :17 :48
1. Pal Anders Ullevalseter n°100 (NOR) 04 :25 :14
2. Simone Agazzi n°120 (ITA) +00 :13 :36
3. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) +00 :16 :44
Car / Truck :
1. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) 32 :33 :23
2. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) +00 :48 :02
3. Pascal Thomasse / Pascal Larroque n°206 (FRA) +02 :57 :03
1. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) 39 :01 :25
2. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) +00 :50 :39
3. Martin Benko n°102 (SLK) +04 :33 :37