Stage 9 of the Africa Eco Race saw the team leave the bivouac at Akjoujt after two nights for a 411.77km special through the desert to Ouad Naga. Once again, soft sand and dunes were the order of the day, but towards the end of the stage, there were also stretches of gravel tracks that allowed for some faster riding.
Temperatures again under the Moroccan sun were above 45 degrees Celsius, and after the physically exhausting Stage 8, Thursday’s special was going to be a stern test for all the riders. Tarrés belied his inexperience at this level to showcase his ability and how much he has progressed since making his rally debut at the Tunisia Desert Challenge in April.
Setting out from sixth, the Spaniard started to chase down the riders in front before becoming involved in a sensational fight for the podium on his Ténéré 700 World Raid with a number of rivals on lighter, and therefore nimbler through the dunes, 450cc machines. Defying logic, the 29-year-old not only kept up with them but, at one point, was absolutely flying and just two seconds behind the leader.