After 6 stages, the Dakar Rally has now finished its first half. While the stage was shortened by 100 kilometres, it still changed a lot just before a rest day. The Buggyra Zero Mileage Racing team had a reason to celebrate, as Tomáš Enge and Josef Macháček set identical times.
It was like a thriller movie. Tomáš Enge and Josef Macháček had exactly the same time in a 348-kilometre-long stage. Both Can-Am specials did it in 4:54:01. “There was really a lot of dunes and just four plains with rocks. And of course, we had to have a puncture. But everybody has problems. It was really interesting. Even though the dunes were small, it was rugged terrain, but drivable,” said Josef Macháček, who finished in 3rd place and currently holds 5th place in the overall standings. “It’s unbelievable that me and the legend, Josef Macháček, had identical times. I’m glad that it worked out so well today,” added Tomáš Enge. However, he subsequently received a 5-minute penalty for speeding and dropped to the 6th place in the stage results of lightweight prototypes.
It was a difficult stage for both Tatra Buggyra Racing crews as well. “It was very challenging today. From the 20th kilometre, we got a weird noise in the cabin and from the 60th kilometre, we completely lost cabin dampers. After that, all the hits went directly to us. Also, this stage was pretty rough, so we had to slow down a bit. We couldn’t keep up like that. And then, by the end of the stage, we also lost power, so we had to go around the dunes. However, now we have a rest day ahead of us, so we can put it all together again,” said the mechanic David Hoffmann.
“I’m not tired, but I feel every bone in my body. It was busy and I believe that the guys will put the truck together. We could use a bit more luck for the 2nd half,” added Ignacio Casale.
The other crew had to deal with some technical issues as well. Martin Šoltys, who finished in 14th place, had to change a cracked steering rod. Then, the Tatra Phoenix got stuck and the crew had to dig the truck out. However, a Russian Kamaz repaid the debt to Šoltys.
“On the 70th kilometre, we got stuck on soft sand. We began to dig, and the first vehicle to stop was a Kamaz. So, the karma has returned. It took a while to fix the steering rod, so I’m glad that we’ve made it here. It was a long day,“ said Martin Šoltys.
On Saturday, the crews will enjoy a rest day. However, the mechanics are going to work around the clock. They have only one day to put everything together, as the second half of the Dakar Rally is going to be very difficult.