Kolomý Crashes at Dakar, Valtr Improves his Maximum
Yesterday´s stage returned the participants in Dakar Rally from Bolivia back to Argentina. At its very beginning Martin Kolomý reached the slower Kamaz starting before him. The Kamaz threw a stone by its wheel, which blocked steering of Fat Boy. What followed was a big crash into a rock which damaged the cooler and tore off the cab. “It was a horrible blow. David still had a headache from the previous one and now all of us suffered another. We lost over an hour and a half before we repaired everything but luckily all of us are all right. Of course we do not give up, we are still in the middle of the race!“ stated Martin.
“Right after learning about Martin´s accident we applied for a wild card for him for the Monday stage so that the boys can start after the elite ten. But there is another problem with floods and the commissioners are trapped in Bolivia and so we do not know yet whether our application will be successful or not. This was a very tiring day,” said the team manager Jan Kalivoda.
Jarda Valtr experienced a completely different progress of the stage. He maintained his rank among the best ten since the very beginning and finally ranked eighth. Thus thanks to the results of the last three stages Tatra Phoenix with starting number 533 moves to the overall fifteenth rank. “Today the route profile was much better for us and we liked it. The first part was rather technical and the second took place in the mountains. However, it was raining again and there was even some snow as well, and so we had to adjust the tempo and rather drive more carefully. But will we achieved the eighth best stage time and reduced our initial loss, which is a slow process in the strong competition here. Of course I am sorry for Martin, who was up to a decent final result. But this is Dakar,” said Jarda Valtr in the finish of stage seven.
Another successful stage is over for Tomáš Ouředníček, who achieved 44th best stage time. That moves him to the fourth ten in the overall ranking. “Except for the engine, which still cannot yield its full power due to the lack of oxygen, and some difficulties with fuel pressure, all was OK. The landscape of this stage was wonderful, especially in Bolivia. People are fantastic there, fans could be seen on nearly every metre of the route, and so it was a great experience for me to race in that country. Now we are extremely tired and I hope we will have a decent portion of sleep tomorrow in Salta after all,“ said Ouředníček.
For the reason of rainstorm the Polish motorcyclist had to give up the race when he was carried away on the route by a flooded river. While Piatek survived without injury, his motorcycle is inoperable. Problems with flood also trouble the TATRA BUGGYRA RACING team. Salta has only been reached by the racing specials and a service truck. The other four accompanying vehicles are trapped between two flooded rivers and the road is closed till early morning hours. Two media vehicles of the team had to use mountain pass at the altitude of over 4,500 m above sea level to get to the bivouac.
This year´s 38th Dakar Rally also has its first casualty. At 82th kilometre of the seventh stage the car of the French pilot Lionel Baud crashed into a sixty-three-year-old spectator who did not survive the crash.
The Dakar Rally has reached its half and a rest day is ahead of the crews on Sunday. This however does not apply to the mechanics who will be very busy with all three racing specials.