Africa Eco Race
STEFANO ROSSI: FROM ITALY DOWN TO DAKAR!
From Monaco to Nador (Morocco) and then on to the legendary Pink Lake of Dakar (Senegal), Stefano's Italian team drove brilliantly for the 10th edition of this rallye, to cover the 6,500 km of race, despite the hazards.
Over nearly 200 drivers and co-drivers were racing in three categories: Auto, Truck and Bike. They included some illustrious names, as Vladimir Vasilyev, last year's winner in the Auto category, Gerard De Rooy and Pal Anders Ullevalseter…
And this increased the pressure on Stefano Rossi and his team, as it was a comeback for Stefano as a driver after several years racing as navigator. "It was our first participation at the Africa Eco Race and there were a lot of unknowns in the equation," he admitted. Aboard a Nissan 4.8 with co-driver Elvis, they cleared the rallye's twelve stages, braving the pitfalls "always with humility but also determination."
Dunes… hidden technique
What is the main difficulty of the Africa Eco Race? A real tough test for navigation skills!
That is the reason why the Italian team drove with extreme precision and strategy, trying to balance between hitting the accelerator and holding back or going easy on the car. That did not prevent the Rossi 4x4 team from taking a little damage here and there. "Our technical team were perfect. I called them 'angels of the night', they were very professional, responsive and cheerful."
The nights were short and Stefano and Elvis had a pretty tough time of it, but they were able to enjoy some magnificent landscapes and the thrill of driving across sand-dunes. "Each day is a race in itself, and each finish line a victory", was how Stefano summed it up.
At the ninth stage (one of the toughest in their opinion, they encountered the infamous dunes of Chinguetti: 340 km of evenly spread dunes and sand with a whole load of pitfalls. But after crossing Mauritania, they reached Senegal at the end of the 11th stage "with a smile on our faces because we realized we were getting close to Dakar," recalled Stefano. The last stage on the beach of Dakar was an emotional time for all our Italian team. Getting to the Pink Lake was a dream that for them came true. With a third spot in the T1 category and 31st place overall, Stefano, Elvis and their team were incredibly happy to meet up in Dakar together.
BFGoodrich® was also happy to have been able to support them in their dream and help them push back limits of achievement. Great work!
"Our personal victory was to reach the finishing line, because in such a difficult and complicated race, there really are thousands of unknowns that can happen. We didn't want any of it to dash our hopes and dreams!"
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