Kolomý: Not Easy to Leave Dakar Prematurely
Salta - They struggled for long like lions, overcoming the traps of the extremely hard track, technical trouble, and fatigue. They even completed a stage on three wheels, which made them writ large in the history of the rally. But even such a big determination was not enough this time. The hardest decision was made this morning. The Tatra Buggyra team will not continue in the competition. One of the most difficult years of this extremely hard endurance competition which Dakar Rally certainly is has eventually swallowed this racing team as well. The finish of this year ´s race will not be seen by more than a half of the participants and to the sorrow of the Czech fans they will also include the crew of the pilot Martin Kolomý.
"The decision was extremely hard and took several hours but eventually the whole team agreed on it. We have all done the maximum. We have tried to find an alternative solution to the last moment but in the end we are forced to announce, with heartbreaking sorrow, that our this year ´s participation in the Dakar Rally is finished. I would like to thank everybody for their engagement and will. I respect that greatly," announced with a heavy heart the pilot of the Tatra Buggyra Racing team Martin Kolomý.
The reason for the premature withdrawal is a technical issue that might threaten the health of the whole crew. Following a profound analysis of the front axle components the team has discovered multiple micro cracks. The mountainous nature of the next stages of the rally would therefore represent a considerable risk in the case of a related technical defect. "Niki Lauda used to say that a too heavy price in terms of non-proportional risk should not be paid for any victory. I have two small children at home and David has three. It would be irresponsible from us to crash anywhere if it is unnecessary. At this moment further continuation in the race would be a useless hazard," added Kolomý.
His ambitious team who wished to improve their last year ´s fifth rank, arrived in the venue of the rally with a brand new engine, Tatra 815 Buggyra. "The truck worked excellently. I was much satisfied with how it was running. We were up to a wonderful final result, but sometimes you encounter completely unexpected failures and play of circumstances that reduce you to helplessness. I keep saying that Dakar is not only about the pilots and the technologies, but mainly about good luck and we did not have enough of it this year," said Kolomý with dissatisfaction.
The first blow already came in the first stage of the rally when the Fat Boy was stopped by a burning tyre. The loss was only in terms of minutes. In the next stages of the race the Czech racing special managed to reduce the initial loss and in the fifth stage the team already attacked the position of the best Czech pilot and the sixth interim ranking. At that moment the air compressor broke down and the repair brought an eight-hour loss. A day later the pilot knocked down a front wheel in the course of an overtaking manoeuvre but ended the stage bravely on the remaining three wheels. The crew of the Fat Boy was greatly admired for their engagement and Kolomý received the nickname "Three-Wheel" in the bivouac. After repair of the axle and for the late arrival in the bivouac the team was penalised again with another more than six and a half hour penalisation. Despite the awareness that the overall podium is lost this year, the crew wanted to reach the finish in the Valparaís in Chile with at least one victory in a stage of the rally. Therefore after the free day the team appeared at the start of stage 7 in which after start from the twenty second position they fought their way to the tenth rank, including assistance to Arthur Ardavichus with his Tatra before the finish lying without movement on the roof after an accident.
On Monday the Argentine part of the Dakar Rally was to be completed and the crews were to be transfer to Chile. The Tatra Buggyra Racing team will not be involved in the struggles of this part of the rally any more. "I believe in the stages taking place so far we have shown that we are able to drive "at the brink of self-destruction" but now I am glad that common sense has prevailed in the team over a momentary emotion. I would like to thank all our fans for their immense support during the race. I will at least try to mediate them untraditional views of the bivouac of this year ´s Dakar," added Martin Kolomý.
When in 2001 the Buggyra truck racing team first entered the European Race Truck Championship, it was the worst season in history, but immediately the next season brought to the Roudnice team the first title of European champion, won by Gerd Körber. Is the same fate prepared for the Roudnice team at Dakar as well?