Pal Anders Ullevalseter takes stage two in in Africa Eco Race…
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.
The second Moroccan day offered to the competitors the real beginning of the race. On the program a 443 kilometres leg between dunes and stony tracks under a summer sun, it was enough to disturb the ranking and reveal the favourites of this 10th edition of the Africa Eco Race.
After a short 28-kilometre run that saw the first bike leaving at 7:15 in the morning, each competitor joined Merzouga to start the leg.
The famous dunes close to the Erg Chebbi offered both navigation and driving difficulties, especially on the sand particularly soft because of the heat.
Off-piste, seven dune crossings, rolling tracks. The two highlights of the day were crossing the Oued Draa, which is usually soft at this time of the year, and the Erg Chegaga which is often tricky.
Photo Credit: Rally Cool! Photography
Ullevalseter pace setter
In the motorbikes category, the race remains tight with an arrival within seconds in between Pål Anders Ullevalseter (NOR / KTM) and Paolo Ceci (ITA / KTM).
The fight promises to be intense between the two competitors as Ullevalseter takes the lead of the overall standings, three seconds ahead of his main rival.
“It was a great leg with lots of dunes, I caught up with Paolo, thanks to his navigation mistakes,” told Pål Anders Ullevalseter.
“I tried to overtake him but it took me a lot of time because he's really really fast.”
Just past the finish line, the winners of the day and overall leaders Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov threw themselves on bottles of water.
Under the eyes of the organiser, they were congratulated by all their staff and some spectators after 4h50'25 of race.
“You did not even burst, bravo!,” said Jean-Louis Schlesser the former teammate of the best co-driver of the day.
Very nice 2nd place for Mathieu Serradori and Fabian Lurquin (FRA / MCM) who finished 1'56 after the winner of the day. Third place goes to Pascal Thomasse and Pascal Larroque (FRA / OPTIMUS) 14'26 off the lead.
A very good day for Serradori Racing Team taking the second place overall. Harder day for Gerard De Rooy, Darek Rodewald and Moi Torrellardona (IVECO) who reach the finishing line 1h05'46" behind the leader and falls off the podium.
For the less fortunate, the evening also looks very long. The day's leg revealed everything you can find in the hardest routes in the greatest African raids.
They will reach the bivouac very late at night after a very educational experience navigating in the dunes.
Résults: Second Stage : Dar Kaoura / Agdal : 478 km
Car / Truck: 1. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) 04 :50 :25 2. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) + 00 :01 :56 3. Pascal Thomasse / Pascal Larroque n°206 (FRA) + 00 :14 :26
Bike: 1. Pal Anders Ullevalseter n°100 (NOR) 05 :52 :43 2. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) + 00 :02 :22 3. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) + 00 :27 :32
Car / Truck: 1. Vladimir Vasilyev / Konstantin Zhiltsov n°201 (RUS) 05 :52 :47 2. Mathieu Serradori / Fabian Lurquin n°202 (FRA) + 00 :07 :24 3. Pascal Thomasse / Pascal Larroque n°206 (FRA) + 00 :17 :32
Bike: 1. Pal Anders Ullevalseter n°100 (NOR) 07 :09 :09 2. Paolo Ceci n°101 (ITA) + 00 :00 :03 3. Luis Miguel Anjos Oliveira n°114 (POR) + 00 :34 :43