Elisabete Jacinto reinforced today the third place of the general classification of the trucks, position reached on the second day of the race, now that five of the seven stages that compose the Morocco Desert Challenge were disputed. The Bio-Ritmo® team now has an advantage of around 1h30m for Belgian Igor Bouwens, who is fourth in the overall of the T4 class, at a moment where there are only two stages of this great African marathon left to dispute. The Portuguese are thus closer to achieving the goals set at the start of this race.
The trio composed by Elisabete Jacinto, José Marques and Marco Cochinho, took 4h18m09s to complete the whole course of the fifth day, which was fulfilled today around Merzouga, having spent more nine minutes than the third classified in the truck category. The Portuguese team ended the 213 timed kilometers in fifth place in their class.
Today’s special was shorter than expected because a strong sandstorm, that hit the Erfoud region, prevented the pilots from leaving early in the morning. Thus, the organization of the race chose to cancel the first 30 kilometers that would be made in Erg Chebbi. Despite the difficulties, inherent to the course and the climatic conditions in which the selective sector was held, the Portuguese performed the stage without any problem: « there was a sandstorm all night and at the time of leaving for the special the storm was so strong that there were no conditions to start the race. Thus, the organization postponed the competitions and the first motorcycle only left at noon. For this reason the stage turned out to be a little shorter because the organization decided to cancel the initial part of the special and we ended up not making the crossing of Erg Chebbi. Still we made the dunes of the Ouzina and made some of the Chebbi before we arrived at the camp. It was a very beautiful stage, difficult and sinuous. Despite the setbacks it all went well with no problem to point out », said the Portuguese driver Elisabete Jacinto.
The sixth and penultimate stage of the Morocco Desert Challenge rally will be held tomorrow. This special, which will take place between Merzouga and Tendrara, will be the longest one of this great African marathon. It will be 405 timed kilometers that will alternate between fast tracks, plains and stony rails dotted with deep ditches and holes.