The caravan for the 12th Africa Eco Race (Monaco-Dakar) arrives in Morocco early on Tuesday morning.
The first of the vehicles taking part in the gruelling African classic arrived at the ferry terminal at Savona in Northern Italy, 150km from the start in Monaco, from 05.00hrs on Sunday morning. After completing the administrative and customs formalities, 266 vehicles and 688 people in the caravan boarded the Smeralda cruise ship from the Grimaldi maritime company, the long-term logistics partner of the Africa Eco Race.
At 11.00hrs on Sunday, the ship left Savona for a Mediterranean crossing of more than 40 hours towards the port of Tangier, in northern Morocco. A larger port was needed to cope with the additional number of participants for the 2020 Africa Eco Race, as the port of Nador does not have the infrastructure to cope with the additional capacity. The additional time on the ship also enabled people to prepare for the race with additional training with the latest Iritrack navigation and Sentinel security equipment.
A now traditional briefing was hosted on the ship by Jean Louis Schlesser. For nearly two hours, the chief rally organiser sat in the main room of the ship handing out information to competitors about the first stage. Schlesser also explained the philosophy of the race, which corresponds exactly to the legend of off-road rallying and explains its growing success.
For example, a competitor is disqualified only after retiring twice on a special stage. This is, undoubtedly, a real plus point when investments undertaken by competitors are taken into account.
After a last night on a calm sea, the Africa Eco Race caravan will disembark today (Tuesday, January 7th) on Moroccan soil. After a light traditional breakfast, competitors will tackle a route of 754km to Tarda, including 23km of special stage in the region of Kenitra. The front-runners will arrive at the bivouac during the night.
This will be a tough start to the rally, but crucial to find reasonable Moroccan night temperatures at this time of the year. It will also be the opportunity for teams to prepare for the rigours of the second stage.
Source: Neil Perkins / Africa Eco Race press release