Aprilia started its Back to Africa project with one goal in mind: To take the Tuareg 660 to the Africa Eco Race and test its might against everything that one of the world's major rally raid events could throw at it. Fast forward to January 2024, and Aprilia's Jacopo Cerutti stood proudly at the top of the 2024 Africa Eco Race podium.

He and teammate Francesco Montanari both took their rally-prepped Aprilia Tuareg 660s to contest one of the world's toughest events. Modifications from the stock bike include an Öhlins by Andreani suspension, an SC-Project titanium exhaust, and a Sprint Filter air filter. 

Both Cerutti and Montanari put in an impressive showing, with Cerutti starting out as the veteran in the pairing and Montanari as the rookie. Throughout the event, Cerutti consistently stayed in the top three with Yamaha Tenere World Raid Team riders Alessandro Botturi and Pol Tarrés. 

Together, the trio swapped places in the top three during each stage, and the times were pretty close between them. When all was said and done, after all 12 stages of the 2024 AER, less than 26 minutes separated the top three riders.

2024 Africa Eco Race Top 10 Finishers Overall

Once all the times were added up and any applicable time penalties assessed, here's how the top 10 riders fared according to the official results.

Rider Team 2024 AER Total Time
Jacopo Cerutti Aprilia Racing GCorse 39:52:49
Alessandro Botturi Yamaha Tenere World Raid Team 39:59:27
Pol Tarrés Yamaha Tenere World Raid Team 40:17:58
Alexandre Vaudan Casteu Trophy 44:22:39
Attilio Fert France Road Book 45:27:52
Marco Aurelio Fontana Honda Genuine Oil 45:47:08
Marco Menichini Solarys Racing 45:55:33
Francesco Montanari Aprilia Racing GCorse 47:46:06
Nicolas Charlier Yamaha Tenere World Raid Team 47:48:57
Nicola Quinto Jacque De Molay Team Solarys 48:15:33

"I had quite a scare today, because at the 20th kilometer there was a bit of a mix-up on a note and I thought my rivals had dropped me. But then I found the track again and it was me who caught Botturi," Cerutti said after the race.

"From that moment on, we went on together and I brought the result home. I must compliment my opponents for the fairness they showed throughout the race, it was really an honor to battle with them," he added.

"It was a very tense Africa Eco Race for us, leading from the start with Botturi and Tarres putting pressure on us, but we managed it. Thanks also to a great bike; the Tuareg proved itself equal to a demanding marathon like this. I can't wait to celebrate together with the team!"

Gallery: 2024 Africa Eco Race - Aprilia Wins

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