Kolomý and Loprais Struggle, Striking Technology Is Against
The high altitudes are hard not only for the crews but also for the technology they control. This was also the experience of both Martin Kolomý and Aleš Loprais in the fourth stage. Despite the bad luck they both met with they do not give up their struggle with the most famous and the most difficult cross-country competition.
Hot weather has definitely been replaced with frost, heavy rain and snow showers high up in the mountains. The fact that Dakar is still the hardest competition in the world was also shown on Thursday to the winners of past editions Carlos Sainz (2010) and Toby Price (2016). Both had an accident in the fourth stage and had to give up further racing. Thus the list of favourites who do not continue grows every day.
The finish of the treacherous stage was reached by Aleš Loprais with Jan Tománek and Jirka Stross. But not without trouble. “The first five kilometres looked good but after the sixth one the same problem as in the previous stage, the servo pump. The replacement deprived us of about twenty minutes. Of course who could get before us they did and so we had to start a chase by which we finally achieved the ninth rank. Considering what it looked like in the beginning I take it as a success,“ said Loprais, who keeps the interim eleventh rank with the loss of thirty minutes behind the leader, Sotnikov.
“When we successfully reached the finish we were looking forward for our cook, hoping for a duck and beer. Even though it was not duck the meal was excellent,“ Aleš tried to relax the tense atmosphere in the bivouac.
The reason for it was the much worse satiation after arrival of Martin Kolomý in the finish. And yet it had not looked bad at all in the beginning when the pilot of Bruntál took the lead. “The dunes were wonderful. I and Nikolaev kept chasing each other. We were in the lead for a while, then he replaced us and vice versa, on and on. Hard but nice. After four hours we felt a relief for we knew that now we would only drop down from the high altitudes. We had a little problem with finding one of the way points but we resolved it. Then we began to experience technical issues, which we tried to repair but in vain. The altitudes are a huge stress for the technology. Now the boys work on it and we will see whether we will be able to continue tomorrow,“ said Kolomý, who ended the stage with nineteenth rank, dropping to the thirteenth overall rank after the day.
“A moment ago it looked like the end of all hopes. But we do not want to give up and we will do all we can for Martin to be able to continue in the morning. This night will be very long,“ said Robin Dolejš in the bivouac.
The fifth stage with the total length of 683 kilometres will bring the so far longest measured section in the length of 438 kilometres. The venue will again be high in the mountain with further sand plains and dunes. The first trucks should start for the stage after 3 pm.