Kolomý Chases the Elite
Martin Kolomý pulled out all the stops for the sixth stage and his efforts paid back this time. His truck was seventh quickest in the truck category overall and the quickest Czech truck in the race. In the overall interim ranking the TATRA Buggyra Racing team also went up to the current ninth rank.
The sixth stage was again controlled by the Kamaz make. This time also Sotnikov joined and thus the Russians now occupy four top ranks in the overall ranking. The dune fields between Antafagosta and Iquique is a Dakar Rally tradition. The huge dunes with up to one kilometre vertical distance hide various traps where many contestants end their hopes every year. This time Aleš Loprais was one of the victims. Although he started the race well, today ´s loss of over one hour will hardly allow him attack the podium ranks again. Martin Kolomý and his crew were the best Czech crew in the race and thus our pilot eventually improved his mood a little after the series of failures.
"I liked this stage very much, this is exactly what I am made for. Yesterday we rushed our little Tatra a little and today once again. We hit a couple of stones and did not spare the frame at all. Luckily the Tatra frame is immortal and I would like to thank the Tatra factory team for it and also for all their support. I will try to drive their Tatra as well as I can in return. Otherwise I am much looking forward to tomorrow ´s stage, I enjoy the local dunes a lot. It is pleasure to drive over them with the engine we have," said the seventh ranking Martin Kolomý in the finish of the stage.
Today the marathon stage for the truck category will be premiered. What this means for the crews is that they will not arrive in the traditional bivouac where their assistance usually already waits for them but in a place where they will be alone and will have to rely solely on themselves. The only thing that is allowed is mutual assistance of the racing crews to each other . This stage might be an advantage for Martin Kolomý and his crew whose all members are mechanically skilled. "So far our Tatra has worked as it should. Today we will have to prepare it for two days. This means not only more attention to prevention than usual but also preparation of a couple of parts for the boys to take with them if they need to change something in the bivouac. Of course we are limited by weight and so the point is to focus on what is really essential,“ said the technical director of the team Robin Dolejš on preparations for the marathon stage.
Thanks to the seventh quickest time in the previous stage Martin Kolomý improved his starting position for today. According to available information there are many such traps still on stock for the pilots and the starting field will be subject to further cruel selection. "These following two stages will be very similar. Quick sections and dunes again. The most important thing is not to make a mistake. In addition some sections will be covered more times and so there will be ruts left by trucks after the first pass and so we will have to orient ourselves correctly no to lose way,“ revealed the profile of the weekend stages the navigator René Kilián.
The assistance vehicle of the TATRA Buggyra Racing team including the mechanics will stay at Iquique until Tuesday morning. "So we are here at last. Unfortunately we have been delayed until now and so the boys have not slept for four previous nights at all. The scenario of most of these days was that the boys arrived at the bivouac, began to work on the "fat boy" for Martin to be able to continue on the following day and when they finished they had to set off for the next bivouac. Today there will be one more such day and tomorrow the boys can eventually take some rest. Dakar is ending its first half and every hand will still be needed in the second half," the team manager Jan Kalivoda relaxed a little.
This year is one of the most demanding as for the number of the fall offs. The starting field of the sixth stage was reduced by one third of the original number of crews. And this is still far from the end! As for the Czech pilots yesterday ´s stage was the last Dakar stage this year for the youngest Czech pilot Martin Macík junior, who ended the race after the stage.