Kazakhstan team at first 3 stages of Africa Eco Race02 january 2013, 01:52
The First Stage
The start of the first stage of the Africa Eco Race-2013 was delayed from December 29 to December 30. The delay was related to the late arrival of the ferry and long customs and border procedures. Only motorcycles managed to start the race on schedule. Other offroader and truck teams rested in the base camp.
The first crew of Kazakhstan’s team Astana started the first stage of the race at 03:04 p.m. (Astana time): Kanat Shagirov and Aleksander Moroz drove offroader Mebar M440 (number 214) in T2 class. The second Kazakhstan crew took off 10 minutes later: Yuriy Sazonov and Arslan Sakhimov drove off on Bowler (number 226) in T1 class.
The third crew of Astana (Marat Abykayev and Zhanat Zhalimbetov on prototype of MEBAR M440, number 232) could not start the race. The crew had technical problems with their car. According to the race rules, the crew has three days to eliminate the failures and enter the race.
The first stage of Africa Eco Race from Nador to Boudnib was 658km: a liaison of 223 km, then a special section of 245 km, and then the second liaison of 190 km.
The first part of the stage as far as Tendrara largely consisted of gravel or sand tracks. There were many tracks in the area and this required extremely precise navigation. The landscape is composed of areas of vegetation with a lot of camps. Processing into the second section of the Special competitors left the areas of vegetation, heading towards Tigri lake that has unique vegetation for the North of Morocco; tall grasses, big shrubs and green trees. This idyllic landscape was accompanied by very fluid track. The end of the Special had areas of vegetation at the approach to Bouarfa.
The Second Stage
One of the crews of Kazakhstan’s team Astana won the first place in the second stage of Africa Eco Race-2013 in their T2 class. The crew of Kanat Shagirov and Aleksander Moroz on Mebar M440 offroader, T2 class, covered the stage in 06:52:46. Overall they came 20th, 02:25:59 behind the leader.
The second Kazakhstan team of Yuriy Sazonov and Arslan Sakhimov on Bowler in T1 class finished the stage in the 17th place in their T1 class and 27th overall. The covered the distance in 07:18:21, 02:51:34 behind the leader.
The second stage was 431 km long overall from Boudnib to Tagounite in Marocco. It had a 409 km special section followed by a short 22 km liaison. It was a long, difficult and tiring stage because of numerous changes of landscape, but with no navigation complications.
The Special section started directly from the camp. The track quickly became rocky and undulating with black soil. The track was difficult, especially at the descent of a very pretty, narrow and rocky pass. The landscape of this first section was amazing: the competitors followed some stunning cliffs before arriving in a sandy river bed to the North of Merzouga. Crossing the Erg of Merzouga was also part of the route. Eventually they came back onto a good track alongside the Ziz river bed. It had some easy dune crossings before a long, often sandy and undulating track. The last difficulty of the day was the ascent of a volcano before the finish to the North of Tagounite.
The Third Stage
Once again Kazakhstan’s Astana team T2 crew of Kanat Shagirov and Aleksander Moroz won a stage in their class. They finished the third stage in 15:14:15. But they continued loosing their positions in the overall standing. They got ranked 25th overall after the third stage loosing two lines from the previous stage and the total of 06:05:15 to the leader.
Aleksander Moroz(L) and Kanat Shagirov(R). Photo by Tengrinews.kz©
Jean louis Schlesser and Cyril Esquirol from French Sonangol Schlesser on T1 Schlesser offroader are still the leaders of the race. They are followed by Jerome Pelichet and Xavier Panseri from France and Jacques Loomans and Frits Driesmans from Belgium (both crews from Loomans Racing team and both driving T1 cars).
Kazakhstan's second crew of Yuriy Sazonov and Arslan Sakhimov finished the third stage of the race in the 27th place in their T1 class, also loosing two lines from the previous race, but their still retained their 17th place in the T1 class. The Astana’s Bowler offroader racing in T1 category had technical problems during the race. In spite of that, the team managed to pass all the checkpoints, avoid any fines, reach the finish and get the stage scored.
Arslan Sakhimov(L) and Yuriy Sazonov(R). Photo by Tengrinews.kz©
The third stage of the Africa Eco Race was 525 km long in total from Tagounite to Oued Draa in Marocco: a 433 km special section right away and a 92 km liaison. The stage was tiring by it's length, difficulty and necessity for concentration.
The competitors started directly from the camp again. The route quickly became rocky but stayed fluid, eventually reaching an oasis. From there, there was a very small pretty sandy track towards the crossing the Erg Chegaga that was the biggest challenge of the day. At the exit of the Erg, which is shorter and easier, the Iriqui Lake was like a rest area. The lake track was dry until the end which made it rather fast although gravelly and rocky in places without much navigation since piles of rocks mark the route. On the other hand, the track was tiring because of it's numerous bumps and undulations. The finish line at Icht came after crossing a last small beautiful pass. Then the competitors had another 92 km of liaison before the camp in Oued Draa.