Africa Eco Race 2022 - Stage 7 in Mauritania

After the cancellation of the first special stage in Mauritania, everyone was eager to get started this morning at the start of this 7th stage between Chami and Akjoujt.

The start this morning had been brought forward by 30 minutes so that the competitors could avoid driving in the high temperatures of the afternoon. Even though today’s route was particularly difficult, there were no real problems for the participants of this 14th edition of the AFRICA ECO RACE, as their level is generally high. In the end everyone should make it back to the bivouac this evening, even if for some it will be on the back of a sweeper truck.

Stefan SVITKO takes over the lead in the motorbike race

Jean Louis SCHLESSER had announced yesterday that this 7th stage could change it all. The organizer of the AFRICA ECO RACE was not wrong as Stefan SVITKO, who started 3rd this morning, won the day. Setting a scratch time with a comfortable lead of 00:06:26 over Maurizio GERINI. On his KTM, the Slovakian rider took advantage of the last 150 kilometers of sandy and technical tracks to put some distance between him and the Italian on his HUSQVARNA. The two men finish ahead of Pal Anders ULLEVALSETER who is back in the top 3, but still 00:31:21 behind. The Norwegian was ahead of Frenchman Xavier FLICK by 00:16:30, who had to deal with problems with his bike’s swingarm. In 5th position, we find Robbie WALLACE who keeps on demonstrating his competitiveness. The British rider placed, on his KTM, about ten minutes ahead of the two YAMAHA 700s of the Spaniard Pol TARRES and the Italian Alessandro BOTTURI. There is also a noteworthy entry in the top 10 for the first time for the Swede Stefhan WILHELMSSON, 8th on his KTM, in front of the Dutchman Stephan SAVELKOULS and the Slovak Martin BENKO. The Italian Massimiliano GUERRINI, who started last this morning, also performed well and finished in 11th position.

In the provisional results for two-wheeler general rankings, Stefan SVITKO is once again the leader with a lead of 00:03:46 over Maurizio GERINI and 01:21:46 over Xavier FLICK, who is still the leader of the MOTUL EXTREME RIDER Challenge for Malles Moto riders. To be noted: a great 18th place of the Italian Francesca GASPERI, the only woman in the motorbike race, who gains two more positions today.

Victory for Laurens MEIJER and Robbert VISSER in the car category

It is rare in Cross-Country Rallies, and particularly on a 470 km stage, to see an SSV win the scratch ahead of two- or four-wheel drive T1 cars. However, this is what happened today on the AFRICA ECO RACE with the victory of the CAN AM of Laurens MEIJER and Robbert VISSER. The Dutchmen finished, even more unusually, ahead of another CAN AM in the SSV EXTREME RACE category, that of Jean DAGHER-HAYECK and Patrick ANTONIOLLI, at only 00:02:53. The two SSVs are ahead of the OPTIMUS Buggy of Philippe GOSSELIN and Christophe CRESPO by 00:02:57. A very tight top 5 today as the CAN AM of the Italians Andrea TRONCONI and Alberto BERTOLDI finished 4th at 00:07:48 and the TATRA truck of the Czech Tomas TOMECEK was 5th, 00:12:05 behind the winners.

In the general classification, Philippe GOSSELIN and Christophe CRESPO are still leaders with more than 4 hours of advance on Jean GAGHER-HAYECK and 5 hours on Laurens MEIJER and Robbert VISSER. Tomas TOMECEK is still the first truck and tonight he enters the top 5.

Wednesday 26 October, the stage will consist of a loop around the bivouac of Akjoujt with 24 km of liaison before the start and 424 km of special stage with a finish at the bivouac. On the program, the famous Tifoujar pass and still more dunes with a relatively difficult last section.