Schlesser wins Africa Eco Race for 6th time


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After 5497 km, of which 2992 km of selective sectors, Saturday January 11th 2014, Jean Louis SCHLESSER and Thierry MAGNALDI won the 6th edition of the SONANGOL AFRICA ECO RACE, at the “Lac ROSE” in DAKAR. 6th victory in 6 participations to the event, Jean Louis SCHLESSER is unbeatable on the African continent at the wheel of his SONANGOL Buggy.

For the third consecutive year, the SONANGOL AFRICA ECO RACE has started from the seaside resort of St Cyprien in the Oriental Pyrenees, about 20km away from the Spanish border. Thus, on the Sunday December 29th, tenths of thousands of spectators came over to see the start of this great African Rally and all the different vehicles participating at it.

Obviously, the SONANGOL Buggy and his driver were the stars of the day, the spectators especially admired the impressive roar of its V8 powertrain at the start, under the AFRICA ECO RACE arch.
Two days later, after having crossed Spain by road, and then the Mediterranean Sea by Ferry, Jean Louis SCHLESSER and Thierry MAGNALDI disembarked in Nador, located in the north of Morocco.

After a first safe stage, in order to take their marks, right on the second day, Jean Louis and Thierry took command of the race and stayed on top of the general rankings until the end, having only rare problems with the machine: only one puncture, getting stuck in the sand only once and a small hydraulic cylinder issue.
All along the race, they kept on increasing their lead and ended with 1h42 ahead of Jacky LOOMANS and finished 2h55 before Stéphane HENRARD. A new victory which will be, this time for sure, the last one for Jean Louis SCHLESSER on the SONANGOL AFRICA ECO RACE:

Jean Louis Schlesser’s Interview
« This was my last participation at AFRICA RACE. Next year, I will be following the rally flying a ULM. I will also be helping the organization by bringing my experience, in my opinion few things can be improved a lot and easily.
I want to congratulate Thierry MAGNALDI for his great job as a navigator. All went perfectly well inside the car and he didn’t do any errors. I also want to congratulate all my team, which did an excellent job on the car.
The SONANGOL Buggy has not had a single mechanical issues and after a great 2013 season, with various overall victories and the 2 wheel drive World Title for off-road rallies, we can say it’s the most achieved and reliable car of its category.
Congratulations also to my opponents which all gave me a hard time this year. I have to admit the level has increased, especially in the Auto category, which is very good for the future of the race. Of course, I also want to thank all of our partners, and especially SONANGOL which supports us as title sponsor since 3 years now.”

In other words, the announcement of Jean Louis SCHLESSER made some noise, especially for passionate and specialists. He also specified he wouldn’t participate to championships anymore and would race just sometimes for fun. A relaxing end of carrier for Jean Louis SCHLESSER, which arrived in off-road rallies years ago after having succeeded on track between 1978 and 1990, with a French F3 title, a World Touring Car title, 2 times Sport Prototypes World Champion and testing in Formula 1 with Williams F1 Team.

Since his arrival in the discipline in 1992, Jean Louis SCHLESSER has earned over 20 World Titles has a driver/manufacturer, but also two DAKAR Rallies facing the Factory Teams and winning nearly every race in the 2 wheel drive category he has participated at.
Indeed, it’s one of off-road rallies heavyweights which takes a step backwards in the competition.
But we can trust Jean Louis SCHLESSER which, for sure, has other ideas or projects we’ll have to follow closely !