Africa Eco Race 2012: Saint Cyprien

We had a chance to spend a beautiful afternoon in Saint Cyprien-Plage on Tuesday at the departure assembly point and technical inspection for the Africa Eco Race. According to the announcer on the loudspeaker, 160 vehicles are registered in the race, counting heavy trucks, cars, side-by-side and motorcycles.

A selection of the best photos from the day follows.

Not long after we arrived, the officials came over for the technical inspection of last year’s winner in the Truck category, Tomás Tomecek.

Tomecek’s Tatra has a modified Tatra V12 T3A-930 engine. The regulations of the race don’t impose an official limit on the horsepower of the engine. Instead, the restriction is on the airflow intake, which must be less 74mm in diameter (interior) for a single turbo engine and 53mm in diameter for each intake on a twin-turbo engine. This effectively places a limit on how much power the engine can develop without explicitly setting a value limit for the horsepower.

Where he’s going, the speed limit for trucks won’t be 85 km/hour anymore.

You can follow Tomecek’s team during the race on Twitter and on the Letka Racing Team’s website, where they already posted some great pictures from St. Cyprien and where co-pilot Vojtech Moravek is writing a wonderful personal account of the race. If you don’t speak Czech, Google Translate is your friend.

The Letka Racing Team also prepared two Tatra 6×6 trucks to pick up any broken down vehicles not able to finish the Specials.

We saw four of the five trucks that will be competing in the Race, including a French team in the Scania P 420 CB4x4 that was driven by the Qualisport team that won the race two years ago.

You can also follow H. Essers on Twitter.

We were impressed by the wide diversity of cars that had been prepared for the race: from custom-made buggies to Bowlers to light trucks.

The car from SodiCars Racing had a tire inflation system that allows the pilot to adjust the tire pressure from the cockpit. Of course, as many readers of this blog will know, the Tatra trucks have a central tire inflation system built-in. The Tatra system was originally designed for the military, and the air is supplied via the wheel drive shaft (it passes inside). This system is more robust than the one on the car shown here because there is less chance that the air supply hose could be caught on an obstacle and pulled off during offroad driving.

The latest generation Bowler, Nemesis:

A Tunisian team driving a Toyota:

The motorcycles were somewhat more discreet. Some were doing driving tests.

These two looked brand new for the race:

Hubert Auriol was one of the celebrities present at the Race. Three-time winner of the Dakar, of which he was also Race Director for several years, he is driving one of two twin buggies competing in the race. His arrival attracted a large crowd, and according to one announcement we heard, he was interviewed by journalists from France 3.

One of the cars has King shocks, which we know very well. We have similar ones on our Jeep JK Wrangler.

Most of the race service cars appeared to be stock 4x4s, like this Jeep Cherokee:

This Toyota is part of the medical assistance team:

This Ford F350 didn’t seem to be part of the race, but seems to have taken part in the 2011 Silk Way Rally:

The Africa Eco Race is a race in the spirit of the original Paris-Dakar and follows a similar route.The Paris-Dakar has always been a popular race in France, and lots of people stopped by to look at the vehicles during the day.

We didn’t stay for the official start at 7:00pm. Jean-Louis Schlesser had been scheduled to appear later in the afternoon, but he must have arrived after we left around 5:00pm. The action got underway today in Nador. You can follow on the Race’s official website. There’s also a live map showing the actual locations of the competitors.

One Response to Africa Eco Race 2012: Saint Cyprien

  1. Pingback: Photo Album: 2012 Heroes Legend Prolog « Erg Machine

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