The 8th Africa Eco Race had today its rest day in Dakhla, a beautiful coastal city in the south of Morocco. The OLEOBAN® team used this day near the beach, where temperatures were around 20°, to recover energy and to review the mechanics of the MAN TGS of competition. Today is also the day to adjust strategies for the next few days, once the race will now enter the difficult tracks of Mauritania which are the most difficult for the Portuguese due to the dunes of soft sand.
The Portuguese trio, composed by Elisabete Jacinto, José Marques and Marco Cochinho standed out in this competition for its consistency and reliability that they have shown from the beginning. The OLEOBAN® team started the Africa Race 2016 in the fourth place among trucks, a position they held until the fourth stage a journey where the Portuguese were able to stand out by being the second fastest truck. Even facing strong competitors – two KAMAZ, one of which belongs to the Russian Anton Shibalov, the last year winner of this race; the SCANIA from Miklos Kovacs and the TATRA of Tomas Tomecek, who has won for three times this competition – the Portuguese showed all their competitiveness by printing an efficient rhythm allowing them to ensure, at the end of a week of race, the third place among trucks and the 12th position in the overall classification.
Despite some adversities, Elisabete Jacinto makes a positive evaluation of the competition: « Today we are by the beach which is quite nice and allows us to recover from the stress of these last few days. We have already accomplished half of the rally, in Morocco, where we tried to always walk fast. However, the Moroccan stages are always devastating and we had to manage the race very well to try to spare the material. But we are pleased with our performance and we enter in Mauritania in a good position and we will try to keep it until the end », said the Portuguese pilot.
The OLEOBAN® team prepares to leave tomorrow to Mauritania and Elisabete Jacinto recognizes the difficulties they will face until the end of the rally: « Mauritania has been our biggest problem because it is always very difficult to overcome the soft sand dunes that make up most of the route. We hope that luck is on our side. I would love to finish the rally on the podium, but I know it will not be easy because it is a big rally and there is still much to race » said Elisabete Jacinto.
This eighth edition of the Africa Eco Race is headed by the Kazakh Kanat Shagirov, in the joint auto truck classification, while the Russian Anton Shibalov, from the KAMAZ team, leads the category T4 and is second in the general classification. Until now it were fulfilled five of the 12 stages that make up this rally.
Tomorrow the caravan leaves Morocco at 5:00 am and will hold a long liaison of 438 kilometers to the border which separates Morocco from Mauritania. The special of this sixth stage will be entirely fulfilled in Mauritanian soil. The selective sector of 174 timed kilometers starts in Boulanouar and ends in Chami and will be played in sandy fast tracks and navigation will be particularly difficult and demanding.