Kolomý in Top Three Again, Loprais with Problems
Excellent performance in the third stage was again enacted by the crew of Martin Kolomý, with the outcome of the second quickest time and the second overall rank as the result. Aleš Loprais and his crew developed a thirty-minute loss after having to replace the servo pump on the route.
The traps of the first demanding stage having the vehicles climb up to the mountains of Argentina were even experienced by the favourite of the car category Nasser Al-Attiyah, who had to give up after an accident. Unfortunately, Ivan Jakeš ended up in hospital after being hit with a flash of lightning. “I regret very much that Ivan is in hospital for he has been my friend for years and when I first participated in Dakar Rally we were in the same team. Unfortunately, it was raining and snowing up on the plateaus so such thing is certainly possible,“ said Martin Kolomý in the bivouac.
High temperatures were replaced with frost and snow which will probably accompany the Dakar participants for the next couple of days. Martin Kolomý and Kilian brothers were not taken aback by that and drove for another podium rank. “The result is good but our clutch did not work from the first half and so I had a lot of trouble with it. In one of the difficult sections I turned the steering wheel so vigorously that I was shot off my safety belts. We have to make some changes, repair the clutch and continue the battle,“ said the second raking Kolomý in the finish. The same rank also belongs to the TATRA BUGGYRA RACING team crew in the overall ranking, after a three-minute penalisation for exceeded fifty-kilometre speed limit in one section depriving them of the leading rank.
Much worse was the outcome for Martin Prokop, achieving the excellent ninth best time in the car category. For missing a control point the Czech-Austrian crew received an hour penalisation. Also the crew of Martin Kolomý had problems finding the control points. “I soon realized we had missed a control point but we only covered 500 m more to return. There were many cars looking for the control point, a lot of dust and so it was difficult to find the right way. In addition one of the places to be passed was blocked with a car on the roof so it was really hard,“ described René Kilian complications in navigation manoeuvring.
The stage was also started well by Aleš Loprais with Jan Tománek and Jirka Stross. Until the last interim measured point they ranked fifth with a loss of four minutes. However, they eventually reached the finish ranking fifteenth. “A wonderful stage, I liked it very much. Unfortunately, 20 km before the finish our servo pump was broken and we had to stop an d replace it, which means a big loss, unfortunately, but it is still the beginning and so we hope for a little bit of luck to avoid such trouble in future,“ said Aleš in the finish, still holding the eleventh rank with a loss of thirty minutes after the leader, pilot Nikolaev with Kamaz.
The fourth stage from San Salvador to Tupiza will take the participants from Argentina to Bolivia. “Today we are up to another round at the state frontier. But the organiser mainly warned against the dunes, so if it was difficult yesterday, today it will be even worse,” pointed out the pitfalls of the Thursday stage the team manager Jan Kalivoda.