In the heart of a still festive Principality, a new motorsport challenge started the engine followed by the excited choir of the audience. That gave the way on Saturday evening, the 4th January 2020, to the 12th edition of the Africa Eco Race, a one-of-a-kind rally open to professional drivers and amateurs on board of different kinds of vehicles that goes over 6500 km from Monaco to Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal through a series of breath-taking stages. A roaring atmosphere welcomed all international teams at the foot of the big Christmas Wheel of three hundred ‘fireballs’ at Quai Antoine 1er with the best teams’ support. Ready to run into a great challenge: five races in Morocco, six contests in Mauritania and the final one to reach Dakar, capital town of Senegal, on the 19th January 2020.
This original rally, conceived by Hubert Auriol in 2009, officially registered FFSA (Motorsport French Federation) and FFM (Motorcycling French Federation), is led by a pure competitive adventure in one of the most inspiring places on the Earth, recalling the pure Paris-Dakar spirit.
A brand-new path will bring motorcycles, quads, trucks and other innovative four-wheel vehicles to face sand and dune routes more than ever, pushing drivers to be in real contact with Nature at fixed bivouacs in the desert. A targeted loop stage in Mauritania, then, will test human resistance. But there is much more!
“Africa Eco Race is also mutual help and friendship between the competitors”, pointed out some time ago the French awarding racing driver Jean-Louis Schlesser who has been organising the Africa Eco Race together with René Metge, former international professional rally driver, three-time winner at Paris-Dakar. This rally, in fact, has been constantly focused on increasing awareness on sustainable development and eco-responsible tourism among its participants. In 2020 edition, in particular, all contesters and crew members, coming from thirty-four Countries, were asked to contribute for an “Eco-participation” to provide five hundred solar lamps within the project ‘Énergie de l’Espoir’ (Energy of Hope) started three years ago in close cooperation with AMADE.
Thanks to this international association founded by H.R.H. Princess Caroline of Monaco, strongly committed to give a concrete help to troubled children around the world, new generations living in Mauritania and Senegal faraway lands will benefit from safe, long-lasting and cost-effective ‘clean’ energy to better their lifestyle and quality of education. Not by chance, Africa Eco Race participants have shown their most generous side by donating 10,693 € to the cause, symbolically handed over to NGO ‘AMADE Mondial’ by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco at the rally starting point in the presence of Alessandro Botturi, skilled moto driver who won the rally last year.
A very significant gesture both on charitable and environmental side through a carbon offsetting mechanism. The yearly use of energy-saving light bulbs is able to neutralise the carbon footprint for the duration of the two-week rally.
This added value motivated even more than 700 participants who enrolled in the African venture on Friday the 3rd and Saturday the 4th January in Menton before reaching the Monegasque territory. A win-win outcome as highlighted by Jean-Louis Schlesser: “I am happy to see that the Africa Eco Race is still growing over 20% more participants (…) with five continents represented for this edition” – “the number of bikes has doubled and the quality of the teams participating has significantly raised”, he added. Therefore, it promises to be a spectacular sport test with special attention to safety. All vehicles are mandatorily equipped with navigation and security devices.
After leaving Port Hercules, all racing cars went straight to Savona Harbour where to embark on Sunday early morning on board of the Grimaldi Lines Esmeralda Ferry headed to Tangier, departure point of the African challenge.
Africa Eco Race is showing, once again, sporting and human values at their best in a friendly atmosphere where spirit of collaboration makes all riders feeling part of one community. Let us been connected through media to follow live this challenging experience!
Africa Eco Race official website: https://www.africarace.com/en