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The driver Elisabete Jacinto and the team Bio-Ritmo® rose today to the podium of trucks of the Africa Eco Race 2019 to receive the prize of the first place in the category. It was a historic day for international motorsport because it is the first time a woman wins a long off-road marathon at the wheel of a truck. The German Jutta Kleinshmidt was a pioneer among the cars, winning in 2001 the Paris Dakar at the controls of a Mitsubishi. Now Elisabete Jacinto becomes a precursor among trucks.
The Portuguese trio added to its résumé the 6th podium reached in this great competition, in 10 participations. Elisabete Jacinto had, for several years, the objective of winning the Africa Eco Race since in her career she already had triumphs in important international races such as the Rally of Morocco or the Rally of Tunisia. In 2000, while still competing in motorcycle, she also won the Ladies Cup in the Dakar Cairo rally, a fact that she would repeat in 2001.
Elisabete Jacinto, José Marques and Marco Cochinho performed in an exemplary manner all this rally by maintaining a solid and consistent pace that allowed them to appear in the from the start of the race in the front places. At the entrance of Mauritania, where the greatest difficulties were expected, the Portuguese were in first place and continued there until the end of the race. In this edition of the Africa Race, the Bio-Ritmo® team also achieves its best result ever in the joint classification with the cars, conquering the fifth place overall.
In today’s stage the Portuguese were the 4th fastest truck to fulfill the 22 timed kilometers of the mythical special accomplished on the shores of Lake Rose in Dakar: “when we started the stage we made a good start and we were well classified. But the Ginaf quickly passed us and we finished in fourth in the category. However, as always, it was a very happy stage with everybody celebrating the fact that they arrived at the finish line. We had lots of Portuguese here on arrival who made us an immense party with champagne. We are very happy with what we did in this race. We received a huge and heavy trophy and we are very pride. It’s been 16 years of work to get to this day. All this is the result of a lot of work and dedication and for that the victory tastes even better“, said Elisabete Jacinto at the end of this great adventure.
Thus, ended the 11th edition of the Africa Eco Race with the fantastic stage of consecration to be disputed around the Lake Rose in Dakar. In the category of cars, this Africa Eco Race crowned Jean Pierre Strugo with the first place in the overall standings and in the bikes, Alessandro Botturi was the big winner.
Elisabete Jacinto achieved for the first time in her sport career the victory in the truck category of the Africa Eco Race by finishing today’s special in the 2nd position of the class with a short difference of 1m49s of the first place of the T4, which was occupied by the Czech Tomas Tomecek. The Bio-Ritmo® team spent 2h02m09s on the eleventh stage of the competition, that was held between Akjout and Fimlit in Mauritania and had a total of 217.69 kilometers.
The Portuguese trio finished this short stage, the last one that integrates the classification table since the journey of Lac Rose no longer enters the final accounts, in the 7th place of the joint classification auto / truck, result that allows it to hold the 5th position of the general table. Elisabete Jacinto, José Marques and Marco Cochinho reached the top place of their category at the end of the fifth stage of this great African marathon, a position they were able to keep firmly until the end of the race. In the second place of the T4 was the Belgian Noel Essers with a difference of 2h42m for the Portuguese.
Elisabete Jacinto has fulfilled in a very positive way this stage of the Africa Race 2019 and rises, thus, to the highest place of the podium of the rally among the trucks: “today went well. Although we still made some dune crossings, in the first few kilometers, the special was short and very fast. We didn’t have problems to point and we were able to print a good rhythm. We reached the second place in this special, which is very positive, and we are truly happy with our performance in this Africa Race 2019“ said the Portuguese driver on arrival in Saint Louis in Senegal.
Tomorrow will be the 12th and final stage of the Africa Eco Race. The 22 timed kilometers fulfilled around the shores of the Lake Rose in Dakar won’t count for the final classification. However, this is always the most awaited special of the whole rally, not only for the mysticism that surrounds it, but also for marking the end of another edition of this great African marathon.
Elisabete Jacinto maintains the leadership of the trucks at the Africa Eco Race 2019 after being fulfilled today the tenth special of this great African marathon, which was completed along the 471.58 timed kilometers held between Ain Attaya and Akjout, in Mauritania. In the overall standings, the Portuguese trio climbed a position and occupy the 5th place in the joint table with the cars and is now at one stage from winning for the first time in the Africa Eco Race.
The Bio-Ritmo® team spent 7h24m33s in the long and difficult 10th stage of this competition, where the sand and the crossing of dunes were predominant, and finished in the 4th place in the category, only 15 minutes away from Tomas Tomecek the winner of today’s stage among the T4. The last special of the rally that still integrates the classification will be disputed tomorrow in Mauritania where several difficulties are expected. However, the Portuguese are motivated and confident because the second place of the trucks, that belongs to the Belgian Noel Essers, remains with a disadvantage of 2 hours for the Portuguese formation.
Elisabete Jacinto, despite the difficulties that the selective sector presented, achieved another good result: “today’s stage was very long and difficult because the course had many dunes that were complicated to transpose. We made all the dunes well and only lost some time in a place where the sand was very soft. We got stuck and we had to dig. Our biggest problem was when we were going down a dune and hit a very large camel grass. The truck got stuck and we had to ask the Iveco crew to help us. It was a difficult journey, but in the end, we got a good classification“ said the driver who finished the special in the 9th position of the joint classification.
It is recalled that Elisabete Jacinto has in her résumé several triumphs between the T4 in the most diverse African races (Rally of Morocco and Rally of Tunisia), but in this long off-road marathon, one of the biggest of the world, her best classification was the 2nd place of the class that she achieved in two consecutive years, 2011 and 2012.
The 11th stage of the Africa Eco Race 2019 will be accomplished tomorrow. As usual, this last Mauritanian special will be relatively short to don’t waste time and allow everyone to join the St. Louis camp at sundown. With 217.69 timed kilometers this day will be accomplished mostly on sandy trails and dunes.
Elisabete Jacinto remains unstoppable at the Africa Eco Race 2019. In the ninth stage of this great African marathon, which took place today around Amojdar in Mauritania, the Portuguese reinforced the leadership among the trucks, widening the advantage that she has for the 2nd place, by having conquered the third place in her category. The Bio-Ritmo® team completed the special composed by 374.37-kilometer in 5h14m57s with a difference of only three minutes for the Czech Tomas Tomecek, who finished second among the T4. In the overall classification with cars, the Portuguese were in 8th place.
At a time when only are missing two legs to dispute, as the journey of the Lac Rose doesn’t enter at the final classification, the Portuguese trio remains firm in the top position of the truck category, having now extended the gap to the second place occupied by the Belgian Noel Essers, who now has a disadvantage of 2h12m for the Portuguese. In terms of the joint classification the Portuguese team retains the 6th place.
Elisabete Jacinto, José Marques and Marco Cochinho are getting closer to obtain a victory in the eleventh edition of the Africa Eco Race: “today the special was particularly hard. We did more than 100 kilometers in dunes, which was difficult. We were capable of pass them well, but at some more complicated points we got stuck and lost some time. The navigation was also very complicated. But overall the stage went relatively well because, where we could, we went very fast and had no mechanical problems. We are happy because there are only two stages left to finish the race and the results are excellent“, revealed the Portuguese driver, naturally satisfied with her classification.
Tomorrow will be the 10th stage of the Africa Race. According to René Metge, in 2018 this same day was the most difficult of all since the creation of this competition. The special will be fulfilled between Amojar a Akjout and will count on a selective sector of 471,58 kilometers. On the arrival at the camp, which will be installed near the town of Akjoujt, the participants of this edition of the Africa Race will deliver several donations to the municipality.