Even if the Russians Vasilyev/Zhiltsov could win the second stage of the Africa Eco Race on Wednesday, it was especially the "Day for the Buggies". Fighting for the win are Mathieu Serradori and Fabian Lurquin from France and Belgium in their SRT LCR30-Buggy. If you think, the Buggy looks like the former Buggy of Jean-Louis Schlesser - you are not sooo wrong.
Mathieu Serradori started his rallyraid-career on two wheels with a bike on the Dakar Rally in South America, 2009, 2011 and in 2012, with a Honda in this year he finished 20th overall, as 2nd French behind Cyril Desprès and 3rd in the amateur ranking. In 2013, the father of two girls (his "first fans") decided to return to the race but this time by car: "I wanted to continue rallyraid but I needed new challenges," Serradori said.
He crossed the road of Jean-Louis Schlesser, a motorsport-legend, two-times winner of the Dakar Rally, five-times winner of the World Cup and today "Father" of the Africa Eco Race. "Jean-Louis helped me in my project to drive a car. And naturally, he of course directed me to the Buggy. It must be said that there are many similarities in driving between a bike and a Buggy."
The Frenchman first started with a Predator Buggy with Nissan V6-engine, but he decided to build his own Buggy. Jean-Louis Schlesser, his own-called "mentor", directed him to Lionel Constant, designer of the LCR 30 Buggy. Constant has 15 years of experience, preparing each year between 4 and 5 buggies, engaged in different races. "This adventure was very enriching. We exchanged much with Lionel to have a model that best meets my driving. I learned a lot and a real team was born at that time."
With the SRT LCR30 Buggy and his well-experienced navigator Fabian Lurquin, Mathieu Serradori is now fighting to win the rally. In the second stage the Frenchman put the "pedal to the metal" and reached the 200 km/h without any difficulties. From the 8th position at CP 1 the French-Belgian team finished the stage as second, only 1:56 minutes behind the X-raid Mini of Vasilyev/Zhiltsov.
"We were able to keep a cool head today," navigator Fabian Lurquin reported after the stage. "Mathieu offers a very high level of driving. We trust each other." So we will see how it´s going on the next days...
Photos: SRT Racing
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