Due to safety reasons, the organizers prematurely terminated the 10th stage of the Dakar Rally. With a risk of a storm, the crews avoided the final dreaded thirty-kilometer stretch in the dunes and duly finished the marathon stage to the bivouac. However, the North Bohemian hybrid truck of Gert Huzink started the race perfectly and in the end was classified as 4th fastest truck.
“A strong wind began to blow, which could cause some serious complications, especially in the dunes. The organizers did not want to underestimate the situation in any way, because they were aware that they would not be able to ensure the safety of the riders and therefore shortened the stage. Nothing has happened to anyone, which is fundamental to me. The crews got easily to the bivouac in Shubaytah, where the can without major problems survive the marathon stretch without our help and tomorrow, they will go back again. Of course, it is better for us because all trucks can arrive at the bivouac and the crews can concentrate fully on tomorrow’s performance rather than having to solve technical problems that are happening on daily basis” commented Mario Kress of MKR Technology, the designer of the four racing Renaults.
But Kress’ trucks were doing well. It was Gert Huzink of the Riwald Dakar team, who rides only with navigator Rob Buursen, who was ranked fourth in Stage 10, improving his best result this year. But he was not far from the winning Shibalov. Only a minute and forty seconds had separated him from the stage win. He even left behind the powerhouse of this year – Russian Andrei Karginov, who had won the previous four stages and had been leading the competition by big margin since day 4. Pascal de Baar, Huzink’s team mate from Riwald Dakar, finished in the top ten. Martin van den Brink of the Mammoet Rallysport, riding a red Renault with a red “nose” nicknamed Sherpa finished on fifteenth position. Firemen Richard de Groot brought the fourth North Bohemian truck home right behind him.
The organizers stopped the 10th stage from Haradh to Shubaytah after 345 kilometers. Originally the timed special section was meant to be 534 km long and the final thirty kilometers in the dunes should have been the crux of the Dakar.
Karginov remains in the lead. Richard de Groot moved to thirteenth position, Martin van den Brink is twenty-second and Gert Huzink is two places down. The duo after the previous problems has lost chances for a any good overall ranking long time ago, but as the 10th stage has shown, it is still possible to be successful in stage ranking.
The penultimate stage 11, will return the crews back to the bivouac in Haradh, where they meet again with their technical teams to prepare the trucks for the last stage on Friday. They have only twelve hundred kilometers to go to the final destination in Qiddiye, and they will cover slightly over seven hundred and fifty kilometers of timed section.
Results – 10. et. – Haradh – Shubaytah (345m):
1. Shibalov (RUS) Kamaz 2:12:12
2. Sotnikov (RUS) Kamaz +1:08
3. Nikolaev (RUS) Kamaz +1:30
4. Huzink (NED) Renault +1:41
5. Karginov (RUS) Kamaz +2:27
10. De Baar (NED) Renault +11:36
15. Van van Brink (NED) Renault +21:28
16. De Groot (NED) Renault +28:34
1. Karginov (RUS) Kamaz 40:20:04
2. Shibalov (RUS) Kamaz +36:08
3. Viazovich (BLR) MAZ +1:40:00
4. Loprais (CZE) Prague +2:21:18
5. Sotnikov (RUS) Kamaz +2:48:10
13. De Groot (NED) Renault +8:41:24
22. van den Brink (NED) Renault +34:33:35
24. Huzink (NED) Renault + 40:47:54