Kolomý Plunges in Dakar Rally with the Quickest Time and Takes the Lead!
A better start could hardly be wished by Dakar Rally fans. Martin Kolomý covered the thirty-nine-kilometre-long first stage with the quickest time and took overall lead in the truck category. The second pilot of the TATRA BUGGYRA RACING team Aleš Loprais ranked fourth. On the other hand a portion of bad luck was on stock for Karel Trněný who was trapped in the mud.
The first stage of the competition for which the crews started in the order of their identification numbers appeared to be a very difficult test of stamina of the people as well as their technologies. The thermometers showed the incredible 45 degrees Centigrade and the heavy downpours of the previous days water logged the route. The winner of the previous edition in the truck category Gerard de Rooy reached the finish with a burning wheel of his Iveco and the demands of the route also overwhelmed the double champion in the car category Nasser Al-Attiyah, whose Toyota caught fire even before start. However the Qatar pilot was finally the quickest of all in the car category anyway.
The best entry in the competition in the truck category was achieved by Martin Kolomý, who scored his second stage victory at Dakar Rally in his career. The bet on the new Tatra Phoenix racing special appeared to be the right choice. “Today the road was ideal for a Tatra. The terrain was so bumpy that even we had to sell some sections. The truck jumped so high that the truck could not even be controlled, but it worked excellently. Although it suffers from some child diseases, they can be cured on the way, and so I am overenthusiastic about the result,“ said Martin Kolomý, seconded by his navigator René Kilian: “Considering the fact that it was just the first forty kilometres we sweated quite a lot.“
Aleš Loprais reached the finish with a half-minute loss only and so both Tatras of the Roudnice team squeezed into the best five. “For me it was a very difficult stage at the very start. Some sections went on smoothly, others did not. Two times we braked excessively so there is much room for improvement. Simply speaking I still learn how to drive Phoenix. The most important thing is that we are here and can continue, though,“ commented on the demanding first stage the fourth-ranking Czech pilot Aleš Loprais.
Newcomer tax was paid at the very beginning by the screw of Karel Trněný. “The beginning was good. We overtook about a dozen trucks but then we were trapped for nearly two hours. This is the worst possible beginning. But I hope I have learned my lesson. I will never more listen to anybody telling me where to go,” this was how Karel Trněný commented on the fact that his truck was sent to the deep mud by the organizers of the competition themselves, which was the same as what had happened to him at the August Baja Poland with Phoenix. However, the assistance truck with five tonnes of spare parts is OK and the experienced competitor can continue.
The second stage will offer about double the kilometre portion of the first one, i.e. slightly over eight hundred. The speed test will be partly separate from the car and motorbike route and its total length will be 284 km.