The Aprilia Tuaregs consistently at the top in the African desert
JACOPO CERUTTI, SECOND, STRENGTHENS HIS GRIP ON THE LEAD IN THE OVERALL STANDINGS OF THE AFRICA ECO RACE WITH FOUR LEGS LEFT TO REACH DAKAR
FRANCESCO MONTANARI CONTINUES TO ASTONISH, ONCE AGAIN THE LEADING ROOKIE, JUST MISSING ANOTHER LEG PODIUM
With just four legs left to reach the final destination of Dakar, Aprilia continues to battle at the top of the Africa Eco Race. At the end of almost 400 km of special trials tackled yesterday in segment number 8, the Aprilia Tuaregs ridden by Jacopo Cerutti and Francesco Montanari occupied second and fourth place respectively.
On the treacherous sand dunes of Mauritania, Cerutti and his Tuareg were once again protagonists, putting in an outstanding performance and battling with direct rivals, Alessandro Botturi and Pol Tarres, with whom he shared much of the route today, taking on some complicated navigation. The prestigious placement earned today allows him to increase his lead in the overall standings, with his closest adversary, Botturi, at a gap of 3’03, whereas Tarres is 22’22” behind.
With a splendid third place two days ago, his first leg podium in his first ever race in the African desert, Francesco Montanari was once again a protagonist in yesterday’s segment, finishing fourth and barely missing another sensational podium. This is an outstanding result that allows him to consolidate his sixth place in the overall standings – the best of the rookies.
Today, the riders will tackle the ninth leg, returning to the Amodjar bivouac after travelling 467 km, including 364 km of timed special trials.
“A complicated day, but one we came out of on a positive note! At the beginning we found rather soft sand dunes and I got stuck in the sand a couple of times. What’s more, I quickly found myself blazing the trail, having caught Botturi after just 15 km. At that point, identifying the right trail wasn’t simple, but in spite of this, I continued blazing the trail for practically the entire leg, even when Tarres caught us, all the way to the end.”
“This was a fantastic leg. In the first 80 km, we found a lot of sand and I found myself in difficulty on a couple occasions, but I managed to overcome quickly. After that, I navigated well and maintained a good pace. Towards the end, I tried to push a little harder, so I managed to arrive at the destination extremely close to the top three, which is truly satisfying, also because I always feel good on the bike.”