May 16, 2012
EV Racing take second stage win and overall lead
Toyo Tire Europe GmbH. Willich Germany - Eric Vigouroux and co-pilot Alex Winocq win the third stage of an incident packed 24 hours of Morocco. They now lead the rally overall by two minutes and five seconds going into the final stage today.
Their Chevrolet Trophy Truck, equipped with Toyo Tires Open Country M/TR tires had to face the dunes of day’s stage along with fierce 500C temperatures.
Eric Vigouroux lined up next to Jean-Jaques Radelet in the Oscar Buggy for the start of the race. Radelet shares the driving in Team Morocco Racing and started the race with Jean-Louis Schlesser planned to finish the stage after refuelling.
images: Alain Rossignol
After a failed attempt to pass early on, Eric made his second attempt stick but was unable to stretch out a gap. At the end of the first lap after 50km, the cars were so close they nearly touched doors as they turned together.
After this incident, the drama continued. A freak accident saw a violent steering wheel reaction break Radelet’s arm leaving co-pilot Kaket to take over the driving until they could changeover. EV Racing were able to stretch the gap in the stage between them and the Morocco Racing buggy to 11 minutes.
The drama continued after four and a half hours when a fire broke out in the refuelling area injuring Schlesser and two of the Team Morocco Racing mechanics. All three were evacuated to hospital in Marrakesh by helicopter suffering first and second degree burns. Fortunately all are now treated and recovering.
The fire meant the race was red flagged with the result fixed based on the positions on the lap before the flag came out. EV Racing won the stage by 11 minutes 16 seconds. However, Schlesser’s Morocco Racing team have now withdrawn from the rally meaning the Peugeot buggy of Phillipe Porcheron is effectively in second place.
The final stage takes place today in Zagora with EVR looking to consolidate their first place with another stage win and the overall race win.