By Skip Bandele [email protected]
By the time the 2010 Africa Eco Race left Portimão, Elizabete Jacinto’s MAN TGS truck will be the only Portuguese competitor amongst the 35-strong field.
The 45-year-old rally veteran has high hopes of a podium finish in her category while two-time Dakar victor and winner of the first Marseille-Senegal edition of this all-terrain marathon Jean Louis Schlesser will be expected to dominate amongst the smaller automobiles.
The so-called ‘Rally Raid’ consists of six Moroccan, five Mauritanian and one Senegalese stages accounting for a total of 6200km of rough ground reaching their climax at Lac Rosa in Dakar on January 10. The European alternative to the latest South American Dakar, which will get under way on New Year’s Day, had its “Shakedown” at Portimão’s harbour front last Sunday before heading for Nador in Morocco via Spain’s Algeciras on Tuesday morning.