|Compared to the previous two stages, which took all riders over five hours to complete, the fifth timed special at the AER was a relatively quick sprint with Botturi posting the fastest time at just over three and a half hours.
The twisting desert tracks and sandy terrain on stage five were clearly to the Italian’s liking, who set a blistering pace to win the special and reduce his deficit to the leader by almost five minutes. An exceptional performance and the perfect end to week one for Botturi at the AER.
Chasing Botturi home was his Ténéré Yamaha Rally Team teammate, Pol Tarrés. As one of the fastest riders through the early part of the fifth special, the Andorran was in contention for his first stage win at the AER. However, despite his best efforts, Pol would ultimately clock in at the finish line in Dakhla with the second-fastest time.
Sunday, January 7 marks the official rest day at the 2024 Africa Eco Race. Providing all teams and riders with a chance to regroup, fine-tune bike set-up, as well as rest, the racing will continue on Monday, January 8 as the race enters Mauritania for the second leg of the rally.
Alessandro Botturi – P1 (3h31m53s)
Ténéré Yamaha Rally Team
“A very nice and fast stage today. I made a little mistake at the beginning, but after that I got on the gas to try to recover from it. I soon saw Jacopo Cerutti in front of me and from there I knew I could win the stage and I made it happen. For sure at the start of the next week we will see more difficult stages, but I am happy I finished this first week very close together with Pol. We are both ready to fight after the rest day.”
Pol Tarrés – P2 (3h34m10s)
Ténéré Yamaha Rally Team
“It’s been a great first week and it’s ended very well for the team with me in second and Alessandro winning today. For a lot of the stage we rode together, which was nice, and I’m happy to finish second. I’m now third overall, but I’m much closer to the leader so this is great. Additional good news is that my foot is feeling a lot better after hurting it on stage two so after the rest day tomorrow, I should be close to 100% for week two.”
Ténéré Yamaha Rally Team – Team Manager
“I’m very happy to end week one with another 1-2 result for the riders and overall, it’s been a really strong week. Next week will be a little different as the race enters Mauritania. The terrain will be more sandy and the speeds will be a little higher. For now, we will enjoy the rest day tomorrow, refocus, and be strong for week two. The whole team is really excited about how things are going, and we aim to continue like this next week.”