With the Dakar Rally getting underway this weekend in South America, the original African Dakar route is still being traced by the Africa Eco Race.

Marking the 10th edition of the race, the Africa Eco Race sees competitors race from Monaco to Dakar, Sengal in Norther Africa.

Opening his account with a stage win, Paulo Ceci is the early leader of the motorcycle category from rally legend Pal Anders Ullevalster.

After a busy day, celebrating New Year's Eve on a rough sea, all the participants in the 10th edition of the Africa Eco Race arrived at the port of Nador at the end of the day on Tuesday 2 January 2018. 

A tough first day for all competitors with a special stage before reaching the bivouac 500 kilometers later.

Breakfast at dawn

After the obligatory passage through Moroccan customs, the caravan of the Africa Eco Race 2018 was able to benefit from the first light of sun around a Moroccan breakfast organised by the governor of Nador. 

All vehicles then took to the road to join the start of the race with the mountains of the Anti-Atlas as a backdrop.
Riders first faced 51 kilometres of liaison before starting the race with a special stage of 92 kilometres. 

On a gravelly rugged track, the 91 vehicles had to be wary of a complicated navigation between the wadis and the small, almost invisible tracks.

 

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Photo Credit: Rally Cool! Photography

Two Wheel

In the motorbike category there were no surprises. 

Paolo Ceci (ITA) left second and finished first ahead of Pal Anders Ullevalster and Dmitry Agoshkov (RUS).

The navigation was difficult but I managed to overtake Ullevalseter midway and then we drove together, I'm very happy with my race,” told stage one winner Ceci.

Four Wheels

A win today for the 2018 favourite and winners last year, Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS). 

A good stage also for the Optimus of Pascal Thomasse and Pascal Larroque who take second place. 

The good news story of the day comes from a brand new participant, the team of Gerard De Rooy (NL) driving his truck Iveco takes third place in the standings, just ahead of Mathieu Serradori and Fabian Lurquin.

Mechanical problems for Guillaume Gomez and François Borsotto (MD Rallye Sport) who still managed to cross the finish line albeit very slowly.

Amongst other competitors on four wheels, special mention for the Ford of Alexey Titov and Andrey Rosov (RUS) first series vehicles.

Finally in the SSV category, it was the Italians Stefano Pelloni and Gianluca Grociani who were the fastest, arriving 25 minutes after the winner of the day.

Stage 1 — Motorcycles

Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) 1 :14 :07 

Pal Anders Ullevalster n° 100 (NOR) + 00 :02 :19 

Dmitry Agoshkov n°163 (RUS) + 00 :03 :53 

 

Stage  1 Details

NADOR / DAR KAOURA : 639 km

Liaison: Nador / Ameziane : 51 km

Leg: Ameziane / Merada : 92 km

Liaison: Merada / Dar Kaoura : 496 km

 

Photo Credit: Rally Cool! Photography

 

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Robert Lynn
Enduro21 Editor
robert@future7media.com