Mario Patrao, Martin van den Brink, Ronald Schoolderman and Eimbert Timmermans became the winners of the first edition of the Tunisia Desert Challenge on Saturday. The participants stayed upright on a cunning last leg and went home with the largest cup.
The last stage of the eight-day race should not be underestimated. With a special stage of 137 kilometers there was still enough chance to lose time and this happened to some. But at the finish there was mostly satisfaction with the winners, and with the people who made it to the finish after a memorable week.
The last stage in the motorcycle race was won by Martin Landl, he was four minutes faster than overall winner Mario Patrao. The Portuguese didn't have a flawless start to the week, but was unapproachable once he got up to speed. The last two days he was able to drive somewhat on reserve. His lead at the finish was more than an hour over Tomas de Gavardo, who in turn has also had a great week. Gwen Backx completed the podium.
In the SSV class, Richard Doux went for a final day's success and he succeeded. After the stage of 137 kilometers he was only four seconds faster than Gert Huzink, who just missed the stage victory. In the general classification it was not really exciting anymore on the last day. Martin van den Brink was able to finish the race at a relatively calm pace after he had built up a sufficient margin earlier in the week. His lead was almost two hours. Doux still took second place on the last day, which was partly due to his twelve-minute lead over Jasper Versteijnen. The Dutchman dropped back to third place.
Only in this class was it exciting for the overall victory on the last day. Ronald Schoolderman defended a two minute lead over Phillippe Lambilliotte. The leader of Team 4x4 Centrum Ermelo endured the last exciting day with verve when he had a five-minute lead on the Henrard Racing driver at the finish. The overall victory and day victory went to Schoolderman. The second place in the last stage was for Rik van den Brink while Lambilliotte was third and second in the general classification. Vincent Thijs eventually finished third.
For the trucks, the course had already largely run its course. Eimbert Timmermans had a large lead on the last day and was not in danger. He also won the last test ahead of Karoly Fazekas and Paolo Calabria. With that he took the overall win with a lead of more than two hours for Paul Verheyden. Calabria finished in third place.
Don't limit your challenges. Challenge your limits.