MAN race driver Elisabete Jacinto from Portugal started on her way to Almeria, Spain, where she undergoes final technical and bureaucratic checks for the "Sonangol Africa Eco Race" 2013, the big African marathon rally that begins its first stage in Morocco on December 29.
Checks were also underway in France, at Saint Cyprien, where the majority of the teams enrolled for the competition undergo the necessary advance procedures before the rally. The Portuguese and Spanish teams undergo final checks in Almeria. The organization of the rally allows this exception, so that the drivers may celebrate Christmas with their families and not on the road.
The Africa Eco Race 2013 will run on tracks in Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal. The stages are set along 13 days, and the total distance is 5796 kilometers. The rally is made up of 11 stages which include different tracks alternating among stone ground, mountain courses and many passages on sand. The race finishes at the mythical Lac Rose, in Dakar, on January 9th.
This year the competition has nearly 100 entrants, and Elisabete Jacinto will have added difficulties, since she is going to face some of the world's leading truck teams, such as the Russian Kamaz team, the Czech Tomaz Tomecek, in his competitive Tatra, and the Hungarian Qualisport team, with a Scania prototype, among others.
However, in spite of the competitors she will have at this Africa Eco Race, Elisabete Jacinto aims at a podium place within her category: "This rally is going to be difficult because very competitive race drivers and teams are enrolled."
"They are all excellent drivers, with high level trucks. They have a lot of experience, with the exception of the Kamaz driver, who is one of the youngest enrolled. My tactic consists in betting on the driving quality and reliability. That is to say, I must drive well, without making any mistakes."