Fat Boy Experienced Hell in the Mountains, but the Hope Dies Last
Chilecito/Tucuman - If you are to meet a bad luck, then a good piece of it! Real hell was on stock for the crew of the Tatra Buggyra Racing team in the 5th stage of the Dakar Rally. After the pilot Martin Kolomý successfully survived the Wednesday hardest Dakar test, after which he collapsed in the finish, his truck received a hard blow in the very next stage. Its compressor broke down in the mountains in a place hard to access. The defect was only repaired after long eight hours after which it could only start for the second measured section of the stage. The whole team is after a hard night and in worries whether the chances for a decent final ranking have completely withered away or not.
"The compressor is unfortunately a vital part of the truck for it is used for air blowing to the brakes, the gear box, the tyres and the suspension. We were simply knocked down without it," described the defect the pilot Martin Kolomý, who in addition got stuck in a worst possible place, in a mountain pass.
The fifth racing day was to be the longest of this year ´s rally in its total number of kilometres. That is why the organizers again divided the stage to two measured sections. The first was covered by the crew of Martin Kolomý excellently again. After the 211 kilometres they ranked ninth with a 35-minute loss behind the leader, the Russian trucker Sotnikov. At that time the crew was also the best of the Czech teams. But at the same time the problems with the compressor commenced. Kolomý still managed to cover another 110 km of the neutralisation zone to the second measured part of the race before the truck finally stopped. If he was driving a motorcycle or a four-wheeler he could be happy. "The organizers cancelled the second measured section for these categories for safety reasons, as due to the rains of last week the shape of the river basin changed. In addition the heat was unbearable. This part was considerably shortened for cars and trucks. If al worked well, we would reach the finish within the standard two hours, but this way we faced a real hell of a day," the co-pilot David Kilián shook his head over the bad luck meeting them.
The Russian pilot Sotnikov maintained his sovereign position in the second measured section as well and arrived in the finish for a victory which moved him to the overall fourth rank. The leader De Rooy ranked third with the mere loss of twelve minutes, which did not deprive him of his overall first rank in the truck category. Kolomý moved again after eight hours. "Martin started for the last section of the stage shortly before midnight of our time. After the shortening the remaining section amounted to some hundred measured kilometres and another 250 to the bivouac and then in the morning the start of the next stage. Everybody is extremely exhausted and we are all waiting for the information about the final outcome of this," admitted the technical director of Buggyra Robin Dolejš from the venue.
The fifth stage of the rally was fatal for many other crews as well. TV shots often showed the hard men crying with despair. Dakar is justly called the hardest endurance competition in the world. It is not clear yet whether Kolomý has definitely lost chances for an overall rank. Although his crew has not yet appeared in the results they are already included in the next stage starting charter. "The stage is started shortly before half past eleven local time but at a quarter past six the trucks already have to start for the transfer section. We cannot say now whether our chances for an overall laurel have disappeared completely or not. First of all we have to wait for the boys to reach the bivouac and then we will see what will come next," added the Buggyra team manager Jan Kalivoda.
The Friday 6th stage from Tucuman to Salta is the shortest measured section of all for a change. The trucks will only have to cover 156 measured kilometres before the free Saturday. This makes 550 km altogether with all the transfers.
Results - Stage 5 (428 km): 1. Sotnikov (RUS) Kamaz 4:47:46, 2. Karginov (RUS) Kamaz +2:56, 3. De Rooy (NED) Iveco +12:07, 4. Ardavichus (KAZ) Tatra +21:03, Nikolaev (RUS) Kamaz +24:45, 9. Loprais (CZE) Tatra +42:04, 11. Vrátný (CZE) Tatra +49:28, 15. Tománek (CZE) Tatra +1:07:34, 21. Vildman (CZE) Liaz +1:31:28, Kolomý (CZE) Tatra Buggyra, Valtr (CZE) Liaz
Overall: 1. De Rooy (NED) Iveco +21:17:26, 2. Karginov (RUS) Kamaz +32:00, 3. Nikolaev (RUS) Kamaz +1:09:41, 4. Sotnikov (RUS) Kamaz +1:19:59, 5. Stacey (NED) Iveco +1:21:03, 7. Loprais (CZE) Tatra +1:39:07, 14. Vildman (CZE) Liaz +5:48:37, 17. Vrátný (CZE) Tatra +6:15:52, 22. Tománek (CZE) Tatra +7:10:03, 25. Ardavichus (KAZ) Tatra +9:29:31, Kolomý (CZE) Tatra Buggyra, Valtr (CZE) Liaz.