|Stage nine at the 2024 Africa Eco Race was certainly a technical test for all competitors, especially in the beginning. Riders initially negotiated a rocky section before tackling a series of rolling sand dunes. Afterwards, undulating, sandy terrain led riders to more rocky terrain as they neared the end of the day, which required a high level of concentration in order to prevent any potential mistakes.
With the number of stages left to race at the 2024 Africa Eco Race winding down, Alessandro Botturi was focused on securing his fourth stage win on the ninth timed special. Passing each waypoint and checkpoint as the fastest rider, the Italian certainly delivered on his goal for the day and posted the quickest time by just over two minutes. Unfortunately, Botturi picked up a time penalty of six minutes once the stage was complete that relegated him to third overall for the day.
Riding alongside Botturi for much of day nine was his teammate, Pol Tarrés. Opening the special after his win on stage eight, Pol lost only a minimal amount of time to those following in his wheel tracks and would ultimately complete the 363km special as the second-fastest rider.
Stage 10 begins with rolling sand dunes before riders arrive at a 40km section that’s laden with camel grass. This will undoubtedly test the patience of every competitor, however, once riders are safely through it, they’ll return to sandy desert tracks as they make their way to the town of Akjoujt and complete the stage.
Pol Tarrés – P2 (4h29m19s)
Ténéré Yamaha Rally Team
“Today was another good day for the team. I was able to ride together with Alessandro for a lot of the stage and we were really pushing. Once he caught me on stage I knew that we were on for another good result. The team is doing a great job with the bike as I’m really pushing hard and it’s been running perfectly every day.”
Alessandro Botturi – P3 (4h31m15s)
Ténéré Yamaha Rally Team
“It was great to ride with Pol again today and together we rode with a high pace. In the second half of the stage, we were pushing really hard, and at the end the times between us and our competition were very close again. The penalty is unfortunate, however, these things happen in racing. Every day I try to do better, and I need to keep focused until the end.”
Ténéré Yamaha Rally Team – Team Manager
“We’re getting really close to the end of the race now and Alessandro is very well placed, just over seven minutes from the leader, which is not a lot in rally. There are two very important stages coming up as the final stage will be a really short sprint, so not much time will be gained or lost there. I’m really proud of how the bikes are performing and the development work that we did before this race is clearly working.”