Astana won Africa Eco Race-2013 in T2 class10 января 2013, 22:32
Kanat Shagirov and Aleksander Moroz driving MEBAR M440 won the Africa Eco Race-2013 race in T2 class, and were ranked 11th in their Auto category.
Kazakhstan's progress through the race
The race started on December 27 in French Saint-Cyprien, where the teams passed technical validation. That is when one of Kazakhstan cars found it had problems with shock absorbers because their supplier failed to deliver them on time. However Astana crew found a way out of this situation in time and all three of its crews were ready to start the race.
The next surprise came when the first special section was cancelled for offroaders and trucks.
The second stage was not successful for Astana: on of its crews - Marat Abykayev and Zhanat Zhelimbetov on prototype MEBAR M440 - couldn't start the race because of technical problems with their car and then failed to repair their vehicle in three days time and had to withdraw from the race before the fifth stage.
The remaining two crews of Astana team had their ups and downs during the race.
Start of the race (see Kazakhstan's Aleksander Moroz at 00:55 and another team memeber at 01:48 of the video)
The eighth stage was one of the worst stages Yuriy Sazonov and Arslan Sakhimov on BOWLER. They broke down had had to make getting to the stage's finish their priority instead of pursuing the checkpoints. They received 12 hours of penalty for not passing all the checkpoints.
Yuriy Sazonov and Arslan Sakhimov. ©Tengrinews.kz
The offroader of Yuriy Sazonov and Arslan Sakhimov. ©Tengrinews.kz
After the next to last stage of the race - the last stage that made a difference for the overall standings - Kazakhstan crews Shagirov-Moroz and Sazonov-Sakhimov were ranked 11th and 18th in the general standings and 1st and 10th in their T2 and T1 categories, correspondingly. The final 11th stage did not matter for the general classification, thus Kazakhstan crews retained these positions at the final of the race.
Kanat Shagirov and Aleksander Moroz. ©Tengrinews.kz
The offroader of Kanat Shagirov and Aleksander Moroz. ©Tengrinews.kz
The racers passed the total of 6,000km at the territory of Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal. The race finished on January 9 at the Pink Lake in Dakar.
Winners at the final stages
Belgian Martin Fontyn in the bike class, Frenchmen Jean Louis Schlesser and Cyril Esquirol in the car class and Russian Anton Shibalov, Evgeny Yakovlev and Dmitry Sotnikov in the truck category.
In the Auto category where Kazakhstan competed the race was for the fifth time won by Jean-Luis Schlesser from France driving the buggy of his own design. He is followed by Russian crew of Anton Shibalov, Yevgeniy Yakovlev and Dmitry Sotnikov from KAMAZ-Master team. The third place was won by Czech team of Tomas Tomecek and Vojtech Moravek.
The last stage in Mauritania, 190 km long between Tenadi and Idini, was the last chance for some to shine or for others to reinforce their positions. Joost Van Cauwenberge in the car class and Norbert Dubois on his bike illustrated their domination, as did Dmitri Sotnikov in the lorry class.
Martin Fontyn, first in the bike class knew this and attacked hard. But perhaps trying too hard, the Belgian ended up getting lost by several kilometers. Finally, French rider Patrick Arnoult brought him back to the right track. As a result, FONTYN on his KTM 535 lost about thirty minutes, provoking half an hour of suspense at the finish line. In the end, Norbert Dubois got the best time in front of Guillaume Martens whilst Martin Fontyn sufficiently preserved his overall lead to win the 5th edition of the Sonangol Africa Eco Race. At 54 years old, having participated in rallies for 15 years and having won the Touareg Rally in 2012, the Belgian won his first long test.
Photo by Alain ROSSIGNOL©
On four wheels, it was sufficient for Jean Louis SCHLESSER to finish the Special that day to attain his 5th victory in 5 editions. Having played the 'Saint Bernard' of the desert, towing a Porsche in the Classic category that was in difficulty in the sand, Jean Louis Schlesser finished in the 2nd place on the last timed sector, proving his supremacy in the competition and demonstrating his immense experience of racing in Africa.
"I'm always very happy to win a race, particularly an Africa Race. I want to share this victory with my copilot Cyril Esquirol who progressed at an unbelievable rate and is now a real copilot. He did a remarkable job on this rally that was once again very complicated for navigation. I also want to thank my team of mechanics who always respond to my needs. Today, we have an unbelievably reliable car with a performance that allows us to beat the best 4x4s. We'll continue to work to win races for our partner Sonangol, but equally to expand and improve the Africa Race."
In the lorry class, the speed of the KAMAZ again made the difference on this short Special as Dmitry Sotnikov relegated Tomas Tomecek in his TATRA to the second place by more than 10 minutes and the SCANIA of Miklos Kovacs to the third one by 15 minutes. Overall, the Russian lorry classified in 2nd on scratch and also won the lorry category. Having won two Specials, Portuguese Elisabete Jacinto classified in the 7th place on the Sonangol Africa Eco Race and reached the 3rd spot on the podium in her class.
Last stage of the race