Africa Eco Race to Dakar gets under way with 18-year-old Israeli Gev Sella claiming a debut stage win.
- Stage 1: Nador — Domaine Moulay
- Stage: 610 km
- Liaison: 51 km
- Special: 86 km
- Liaison: 473 km
After docking in Africa for the first proper stage of the rally, the Africa Eco Race began in earnest with its first leg in the north of Morocco. A long day of 610 kilometre featured 86 kilometre of special stage to ease competitors in.
In theory this stage was supposed to be a smooth beginning. In reality, some recent rains transformed the course into a real challenge both for the drivers and the navigators.
With the vastly experienced rally rider of Pal Anders Ullevaseter starting the opening stage as favourite it was in fact Israeli Gev Sella who stole the show in Africa.
Creating his own little piece of history, Sella — at just 18 years of age — became the youngest ever winner of a rally raid stage. The KTM mounted rider showed he’s going to be a top contender by leading the field home by 16 seconds.
Another surprise result came in the form of Italian Paolo Ceci who finished second on his 1000cc Honda Africa Twin.
Defending champion Ullevaseter was unlucky to have issues with his navigation and finished the stage third on the day and 1’59’’ behind.
The two-time winner of the race commented “I have not ridden with my KTM since last year and I need to get my sensations back. I didn’t take to many risks and I am very impressed by the performance level of the Honda driven by the Italian.”
Another impressive performance was from the one and only quad, rider Russia’s Aleksandr Maksimov (Yamaha) and he finished sixth overall and 8’45’’ behind the first bike.
The big winners of the day in the car category was Vladimir Vasilev who won the stage in his Mini, 1’03’’ in front of Thierry Magnaldi with his Two wheel drive. In the truck category, the Kamaz of Andrey Karginov leads the way.
All the competitors had cleared the opening stage by 12 o’clock beginning the 400km liaison to get to the first bivouac of the Africa Eco Race 2017 in Domaine Moulay, not very far from Erfoud.
The rally heads west for the first major dune sections where a 370 kilometre day awaits.
1: G. Sella (Isr/KTM) en 1h14.00
2: P. Ceci (Ita/Honda) à 0.16
3: P.A. Ullevalseter (Nor/KTM) à 2.15
4: D. Agoshkov (Rus/KTM) à 5.26
5: S. Pelloni (Ita/Yamaha) à 8.25
6: A. Maksimov (Rus/Yamaha) à 8.45
7: N. Dubois (Fra/KTM) à 10.47
8: H. RAHM (Sue/KTM) à 13.36
9: D. Frederico (Por/KTM) à 14.47
10: A.V. Azinhais (Por/KTM) à 15.31
CARS / TRUCKS
ES1 & GENERAL : V. Vasilyev - K. Zhiltsov (Rus/Mini) en 1h00.09 ; 2 T. Magnaldi - F.Borsotto (Fra/Buggy 2WD) à 1.03 ; 3 M.Serradori - F.Lurquin (Fra-Bel/Buggy SRT) à 5.35 ; 4 A. Karginov - A. Mokeev - Dmitrii Nikitin (Rus/Kamaz) à 6.08 ; 5 D. Housieaux - C.Crespo (FRA/Buggy Optimus) à 6.52 ; 6 J.A. Sabatier - A.Rizzardi (Fra-Ita/BuggaOne) à 7.16 ; 7 V. Khoroshavtsev - A. Nikolaev (Rus/BMW) à 7.19 ; 8 L.Baud - J.M Polatto (Fra/Buggy FDS) à 7.35 ; 9 B. Szalay - L. Bunkoczi (Hon/Opel) à 8.45 ; G. Gomez - L. Fagot (Fra/Buggy Optimus) à 9.14