Kolomý first gained on De Rooy, then was held back by burning tyre
The first stage of the Dakar Rally is over and the first dramatic moments with it. The drama was on stock for the pilot of the Tatra Buggyra Racing team Martin Kolomý, who even had to face a rear tyre on fire. Two forced breaks eventually deprived him of the interim sixth rank and earned him classification for thirty-second rank.
Kolomý started the race excellently. Before the eightieth kilometre post he even gained on De Rooy, who had started two minutes before him, and was eventually ranking fourth after the first stage of the race. At that moment the first stop forced itself. The second forced break came about fifty kilometres later. "It was a damn bad luck. A shoe spring broke and began to brake a rear wheel, which even caught fire. And then after a long leap and landing on the front wheels the steering cooler broke down. Luckily we managed to address both defects quite quickly. although we have lost a little in the beginning, there is no point in being desperate. The first stage of the race was introductory and drawing any conclusions would be premature. The ride was fantastic, the truck worked and so I believe we are able to make up for the loss," said the pilot of Tatra 815 Buggyra Martin Kolomý.
Although in terms of kilometre load this was the third longest stage of the whole race, the measured section was the third shortest. The opening day was therefore rather balanced as to the times and the Tatra Buggyra Racing team showed readiness to fight for the lead. After the first measured section the team ranked sixth with only a minimum loss behind the leading team. "The route, even though one of the shortest, was technically quite demanding. Pebble and stone roads are not easy for overtaking but I like them. I enjoyed the ride," noted Kolomý.
The first stage of the race from Rosario to San Luis was a typical long Argentine transfer. Before the measured section the pilots had to cover a four-hundred-kilometre-long transfer. The time practice was situated in the Sierra Cordoba mountains, where the meandering stone ways are lined with steep slopes. In the truck category, starting as the last one, the quickest pilot was the Russian Mardeyev driving a Kamaz, who covered the 180 km long measured section in two and three quarters of an hour. Due to technical problems on the route Martin Kolomý lost 36 minutes behind the leading pilot and eventually ranked thirty second. That is why for the start of the second stage of the race the pilot of the "fat boy" with number 502 will use one of its three wild cards, following a clever response of the team, so in fact he will start from the more convenient eleventh starting position. "A detailed study of the rules revealed that a pilot ranking up to the tenth rank in the previous year of the Dakar Rally can make use of three wild cards in the following race. So when for some reason I complete a stage with one of the lowest ranks I can start right behind the best ten. We managed to file the application in the last moment, mere five minutes before the closing time. Now I only hope that I will not need the remaining two jokers," smiled Martin Kolomý.
On the first racing day the other crews using the Gyrtech engine were successful too. Jaroslav Valtr ranked ninth in the measured section, Arthur Ardavichus ranked sixteenth.
The Monday 2nd stage will take the crews from San Luis to San Rafael. The total number of kilometres of the stage will be 765 km, including exact four hundred kilometres measured. "Starting from the thirty second starting position would only increase our loss, that is why we decided for the wild card. Now we must speed up and reduce the loss," added Martin Kolomý of the Tatra Buggyra Racing team with determination.
Results - stage 1 (180 km): 1. Mardeyev (RUS) Kamaz 2:46:52, 2. Loprais (CZE) Tatra +0:10, 3. Van Vliet (NED) MAN +0:21, 4. De Rooy (NED) +1:33, 5. Nikolaev (RUS) Kamaz +4:00, 9. Valtr (CZE) Liaz +9:18, 16. Ardavichus (KAZ) Tatra +16:22, 20. Vildman (CZE) Liaz +21:38, 29. Vrátný (CZE) Tatra +32:29, 32. Kolomý (CZE) Tatra Buggyra +36:09, 44. Tománek (CZE) Tatra +51:49, 60. Kazberuk (POL) Tatra +1:07:51.