THE SONANGOL AFRICA ECO RACE RECOVERED

The first two days in Mauritania were extremely hard because of a persistent sandstorm that made the dunes very hard to judge and even altered the course, so for safety and practical reasons the organisers of the 2012 Sonangol Africa Eco Race cancelled the 8th stage between Akjoujt and Tenadi. When Rene Metge announced this at the briefing last night he was met with applause.

Today, competitors had no rush to complete the 370 km road section and arrived relaxed at the bivouac in Tenadi, a village a hundred miles south east of Nouakchott, on the road leading to Nema and called "The Road of Hope." The wind was still strong and the temperature was close to 30 degrees, but they were able to take a nap in the traditional African tents... or start preparing tomorrow's roadbook...

It was the 4-wheeled categories that suffered most in the last couple of days and for their teams there was more activity in the camp fixing the cars that had been damaged in the hard dunes.

Before the penultimate 280km stage from Tenadi to Kebemer the results from yesterday still stand, with Italian Oscar Polli leading overall in the bikes with an hour over Frenchman Norbert Dubois, both on KTM 690s. The top three is completed by Xavier Moreau riding a KTM 450.The Frenchman leads the way in the 450 class ahead of the Yamaha rider Thierry Hervé and Christophe Conreaux on a Honda.

In the car class, Jean Louis Schlesser, triple winner of the event, together with Cyril Esquirol, is on track to win again with  more than four hours advantage over Jacky Loomans and Frits Driesmans, while Salim and Kamoun and Sofiane Driss occupy  third place, almost eight and a half hours behind.

The trucks have never been better placed on a rally as Tomas Tomecek and Vojtech Moravek and occupy second place overall while Elisabete Jacinto, Jose Marques and Marco Cochinho are fourth. For now, the Czech Tatra has a 1 hour 20 minute lead over the MAN while the Belgians Noël Essers, Marc Lauwers and Peter Belmans are ranked third.

However, dunes still feature strongly in the next stages and José Maria Servia who has just completed the reconnaissance of the last stage to Lac Rose, reports that the sand is very soft there, which could still effect the results.

And while the competitors are out racing on the track, the organization truck of the Sonangol Africa Eco Race will deliver about one ton of medical equipment to the military hospital in Nouakchott, comprised of crutches, walkers, splints, etc... These supplies were kindly donated by the Nord Sud Handicap and the Sports Club of Defense in Paris.

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