POLLI AND SCHLESSER UNSTOPPABLE

Last night René Metge announced that the final 280 km stage between Tenadi and Ghreidat Lighjoule, a village about fifteen miles from Nouakchott, could hold some surprises. But even if today was far from easy for Oscar Polli and Jean Louis Schlesser, the overall leaders in the bike and car categories, neither faltered at the last hurdle. Tomorrow at the finish at the “Lac Rose” they shall have their names registered as winners of the 4h edition of the Sonangol Africa Eco Race.

When he set off into the special this morning Norbert Dubois knew that it was his last chance to beat Oscar Polli, but with the hour and eight minutes between them he knew it would take a small miracle. He gave it maximum attack, as the big fall he had is testament to, but in the end he could only take back 41 minutes from the Italian. Polli didn't need to push today and he didn't, preferring instead to conserve his lead. Second today was Xavier Moreau who consolidated his third place on the podium and assured victory in the Class 450, although he still regretted that he didn't win a stage this year.

In the car category, the stage was a rather complicated one. The first dunes, 17km in were particularly soft and at one point 14 cars were stuck, leader Jean Louis Schlesser among them. But that wasn't the most serious thing tat happened to the buggy driver today. Coming over one dune he found the Overdrive Amarok of Jacky Loomans and the two collided. However both managed to continue and it was Loomans who went on to win the stage, which is a very well deserved victory for the
second overall placed driver. A superb third in class went to the MD Rally Megane of Jean Noël Julien and Frédéric Vivier ahead of the Tunisian Toyota of Salim Kamoun.

This year it was the heavyweights who were the stars as the trucks of Tomas Tomecek and Elisabete Jacinto have been prominent at the top of the overall leader board since the start, Tomecek finishes second behind Jean Louis Schlesser and wins the truck category for the second consecutive year in his TATRA ahead of the Portuguese MAN of Jacinto, who finished 4th overall. But apart from the results it was the congratulations between the drivers and co-drivers that was important and it reflected the general atmosphere of sharing a passion that prevailed on this year's Sonangol Africa Eco Race.

Tomorrow, Sunday, Jan. 8, a final liaison of 183 km with a short special 24km along the Atlantic Ocean will lead the survivors of the 2012 Sonangol Africa Eco Race to the famous Pink Lake which will host the podium ceremony to reward the winners of categories motorcycles, cars, trucks and SSV.

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