Africa Eco Race 2014: Saint Cyprien

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Some big changes (a new job in a new location) kept us from spending our holidays on the pistes of Northern Africa this year. It was just as well. It wouldn’t have been any fun shivering in the tent with pneumonia. Despite everything, we made it to Saint Cyprien on Sunday, where we spent the day at the scrutineering for the Africa Eco Race.

We were glad to have the chance to see so many friends and familiar faces, but we forgot the camera so all the photos were taken with the iPhone, and we decided just to concentrate on the trucks.

This year’s competitors are mostly returning veterans, such as two-time champions in the truck category, Tomáš Tomeček and Vojtech Moravek, in their Tatra 815. Consistently one of the top Tatra teams on the rally-raid circuit, their truck has the distinction of being “fully powered by Tatra.” They’re also the only two-man team in truck category.

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Also back for this year’s race is Hungarian Miklos Kovacs, with his Scania.

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It looks like he’s made a few modifications to the truck since last year, but it’s hard to know exactly what since we didn’t get a good look at the interior until now. It seems he may have modified the airflow for the two intercoolers.

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Rounding out the field, Looman’s Racing’s Noël Essers with his MAN,

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is joined by Gregoor Bouwens this year. His Iveco Trakker generated quite a bit of interest when it arrived on the bed of the service truck.
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Missing from the scrutineering was Elisabete Jacinto, who joined the rally in Spain. We hear that she has made some modifications to her MAN since last year’s race, in particular so that she can drive with very low tire pressure in the dunes. We didn’t see her truck, so we don’t want to speculate what that might be.

The scrutineering for the Africa Race is very thorough. It takes the whole day to inspect all the vehicles to this level of detail. The cars are usually examined in the tent.

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This one has a rather interesting license plate.

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The trucks have to be examined outside.

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We saw a number of interesting service trucks.

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This one has a CTIS that looks rather fragile.

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And of course, the two magnificent Tatra balai trucks,

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We also spotted the Tatra 6×6 that opened the warm-up lap at last year’s Heroes Legend Rally. This year it will be participating in the Africa Eco Race as a service vehicle.

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The race will have expanded TV coverage this year. The first segment will air just after midnight, a super way to bring in the new year.

We’d like to wish all our readers a Happy New Year 2014.

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