The last stage, run in the form of two loops around Nefta, allowed Cyril Despres to pull away from his rivals and take his 3rd OiLibya de Tunisie ahead of Marc Coma, a little ‘lost’ first time around. The battle for the third place between the Spaniard Jordi Viladoms and ‘Chaleco’ Lopez finally went in favour of the Chilean for just 13 seconds – incredible after 11 days of racing… In the 450 class Olivier Pain achieved his goal and won his category after a hard fight with Bruno Da Costa and Luca Manca. After having dominated since the start of the rally, Lionel Laine wins ahead of Camelia Liparoti and the current world champion Karim Dilou. In the cars Orlando Terranova wins his first World Cup event at the wheel of his BMW X3 ahead of an incisive Christian Lavieille and his Proto Dessoude. Guerlain Chicherit puts the second BMW on the third step of the podium. In the 2-wheel class Pascal Thomasse and his MD Buggy pips Jean-Louis Schlesser, while Jerome Pelichet takes the Wildcat Trophy. The Russian pairing of Varentsov-Elagin wins the T2 class. Finally Alain Coquelle, Frederic Becart and Dominique Lefevre take the truck victory.

The end of 11 days of intense racing saw an explosion of joy. Right from the first loop this morning, Cyril Despres hit hard, taking advantage of a navigation error by his rival Marc Coma. On the second lap the Frenchman only had to control the situation to take the victory. The Spaniard finally finished 5’57 behind to take second place. Winning here for the third time, after 2002 and 2004, Cyril Despres was delighted with the result on a race of this quality. For the third place the battle was even closer. 4th yesterday evening, ‘Chaleco’ showed his tactical skill. Marking his rival Jordi Viladoms over the first stage he let him cross the finish line first. Then on the second lap, with the Spaniard in his sights, the Chilean attacked hard to win by just 13 seconds. In the 450 class Olivier Pain, very in form over these last few days, wins ahead of Bruno Da Costa, Luca Manca and the first lady home Virginie Premat. Mission accomplished for the 2008 winner , 9th overall. No last minute surprises in the quads. As since the beginning of the race, Lionel Laine won ahead of Camelia Liparoti, with whom he has run a team race these last few days. With the two KTMs in the first two places, Karim Dilou and his Yamaha made it to third place after a multitude of mechanical problems.

In the cars Orlando Terranova made no mistakes to post his first victory on a round of the Rally-Raid World Cup – his BMW X3 running like clockwork over the 4500 kilometres. 38’20 behind, Christian Lavieille achieves a magnificent performance at the wheel of his Proto Dessoude N05. Finishing between the two factory cars, the Frenchman can be satisfied with his performance after having finished third in 2008. Guerlain Chicherit completes the podium. Winner on Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge last month, he increases his lead in the World Cup. A fine performance also from Nicolas Misslin who returns to rally raid with a 6th place. In the 2-wheel class Pascal Thomasse ‘steals’ victory off Jean Louis Schlesser whose new car is currently ‘a work in progress’.

Artem Varentsov takes the first place in the T2 category in his Toyota ahead of Michele De Nora and the Mitsubishi Pajero of Christian Barbier, who announces his retirement from the sport after 23 years of racing. The Frenchman has however promised to return to help pass on his knowledge to the younger generation. Jerome Pelichet, winner of the Wildcat Trophy, was delighted to have participated in this African rally. In the Open Class, victory to another Bowler, that of Pierre Lachaume. Finally in the truck class Alain Coquelle celebrates his victory in the T4 class with 38’19 ahead of Frederic Coudereau, followed by Sylvain Besnard and Richard Gonzalez. Renault ahead of Man and Mercedes. The 27th Rallye OiLibya de Tunisie was varied and demanding, both in terms of navigation and driving. An edition which continues in the great tradition of African rallies.


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