Kolomý Passed the Finish Line on Three Wheels
Tucuman/Salta - This is a real extreme! What Martin Kolomý achieved and experienced at Dakar Rally in the past two days is unbelievable. After big technical problems in stage five he had to drive virtually non stop to be in time for the start of stage six. Then he passed the finish line of stage six on three wheels, to the astonishment of everybody, to stop a couple of metres after the finish. Although the longed for first rank will not be achieved by the Tatra Buggyra Racing team this year, they certainly provide for fantastic stories at Dakar and show heroic performances. And all that stil before completion of the first half of the whole competition.
"We virtually did not sleep at all. We arrived at the bivouac in the morning and the boys started work on the truck right away. We were afraid we might not manage to repair all in time for the start. We did but we are exhausted," the pilot Martin Kolomý wept off sweat from his forehead.
For a long time without any information many waited whether Kolomý would manage to appear at the start of stage six. He had to cover a nearly two hundred and fifty kilometre long transfer before that. He started for the measured section as forty first. Despite all the trouble he even managed to accelerate on the track, overtaking one truck after another. At the last fourth interim time mark he even ranked thirteenth. "We were terribly looking forward to the finish, where he wanted to take a good rest, and of course we wanted to show that the truck condition was good enough. We were lucky that the programme for the day included the shortest stage of the whole rally, and to we hurried as quickly as we could," Martin Kolomý smiled again.
The thirteenth rank to which the Fat Boy worked its way in the course of the stage visibly did not bring good luck to it. In the final part of the stage Martin Kolomý knocked off the right front wheel including the axle driving shaft and the brake mechanism. He eventually passed the finish line on the twenty third rank with the loss of sixteen minutes behind the winner. The spectators were certainly astonished seeing his Tatra passing the finish on three wheels. "The stage was too quick and dusty. When overtaking one of the passenger cars the car pushed us off the track and we probably hit a stone, which knocked off our wheel and destroyed our ambitions for a decent rank. Without the slightest hesitation we loaded the reserve and covered the remaining seven kilometres on three wheels to meet the target of the stage," was Kolomý´s description of his acrobatic tour de force, after which he stopped the Fat Boy a hundred metres behind the finish line on the left side of the road. "The main thing is that we reached the finish. That was the only important thing for us. We were left with no more strength for anything," admitted the navigator René Kilián.
The shortest stage of the Dakar rally was surprisingly won by the Belgian crew of pilot Versluis, who reached for the gold from the twelfth rank. This had virtually no effect on the leading ranks of the race. Te overall first rank is still held by the Dutch De Rooy. Martin Kolomý was penalised with eight hours for the Thursday, which increased his overall loss behind the leader of the race to eleven hours, with the resulting twenty eighth interim rank. This deficit makes it virtually impossible to struggle for the overall laurel but the team can still show that they belong to the absolute world top in their category and if it were not for the big portion of bad luck they would even receive the "stamp" for that in the form of the overall result. Now they would like to fight for individual success - a victory in a stage.
Even other Czech crews with Gyrtech support are also good. The only team that had to leave the race after Thursday was the team of Jaroslav Valtr of KM Racing. His colleague Vlastimil Vildman holds the overall fourteenth rank. Tomáš Vrátný ranks seventeenth and Arthur Ardavichus of the Bonver Dakar project ranks twenty fifth.
Saturday will bring the well deserved free day at Dakar. "this is an extreme, we did not sleep for three days and so we will put the truck together and use the free day for maximum regeneration to survive the last week of the rally," added the technical director of Buggyra Robin Dolejš.
Results - Stage 6 (156 km): 1. Versluis (BEL) MAN 1:52:55, 2. Karginov (RUS) Kamaz +1:11, 3. Van Vliet (NED) MAN +1:36, 4. Nikolaev (RUS) Kamaz +2:07, 5. Stacey (NED) Iveco +2:47, 9. Loprais (CZE) Tatra +4:52, 11. Vrátný (CZE) Tatra +6:50, 19. Tománek (CZE) Tatra +13:31, 21. Ardavichus (KAZ) Tatra +13:38, 22. Vildman (CZE) Liaz +15:50, 23. Kolomý (CZE) Tatra Buggyra +16:05.
Overall: 1. De Rooy (NED) Iveco +23:14:27, 2. Karginov (RUS) Kamaz +29:05, 3. Nikolaev (RUS) Kamaz +1:07:42, 4. Sotnikov (RUS) Kamaz +1:22:35, Stacey (NED) Iveco +1:34:44, 6. Loprais (CZE) Tatra +1:39:53, 15. Vildman (CZE) Liaz +6:00:21, 17. Vrátný (CZE) Tatra +6:18:36, 22. Tománek (CZE) Tatra +7:19:28, 25. Ardavichus (KAZ) Tatra +9:39:03, 28. Kolomý (CZE) Tatra Buggyra +11:02:51.