Kolomý ´s Furious Drive and FATBOY Upside Down, but Continuing
The fifth stage from Copiapo to Antofagasta brought bad luck to the crew of the TATRA Buggyra Racing team again. Martin Kolomý tried to make up for the loss of the previous day but his extremely risky driving did not pay back this time, as in the course of one of the overtaking manoeuvres his Tatra ended lying on a side.
The Dakar extremes affect front runners and outsiders alike and even the strong financial background of the big teams does not absolutely guarantee success in the most difficult rally of the world. This was yesterday ´s experience of one of the favourites, the Peugeot team consisting of 150 team members and a star crew including multiple Dakar champions Peterhansel and Sainze. In the fifth stage the team lost two of its three racing vehicles and thus the only representative of the make still in the play is the French pilot Peterhansel with his ninth current overall rank. Thus the competitor MINI team probably lost its second biggest rival.
The Kamaz trucks did not find any defeater in the fifth stage either. For the Czech crew consisting of Martin Kolomý and Kilián brothers this stage was another bad luck day. Kolomý and his "fat boy" had to make their way forward after start and try to wipe off the loss of the previous day. At the two hundredth kilometre they managed to work their way towards the back of the Dutch pilot Van Den Brink and his Renault truck. The stages in Chile are the dustiest ones and thus Martin had to risk a lot. Unfortunately the extreme speed of his driving backfired against him and a big bang in one of the river basins turned his Tatra on a side. Paradoxically enough the return of the truck back on its wheels was assisted by Tomáš Vrátný, whom Martin had overtaken a couple of kilometres before the accident.
"It was a horrible bang!“ were the first words Martin uttered after arrival in the finish of the fifth stage. "Today we wanted to make up for the loss of yesterday and so we pulled forward since the beginning. We managed to overtake a couple of trucks but at the cost of great risk in a stage as dusty as this one, which we also paid dearly for at last. We drove behind one of the Renaults for about 80 km, and it was throwing dust to our eyes all the time. When we were preparing to take the risk and overtake it a big bang was heard, our Tatra was suddenly in the air and falling on one side. I must thank to Tomáš Vrátný and his crew who helped us back on the wheels. Unfortunately we then had to take some more time to put the truck together for further journey and so instead of reducing the loss we even increased it. But never mind, we are still in the race and continue fighting and so nothing is lost yet!“
"I am fed up with it! I cannot understand why when the truck chooses to lie down on its side it must always be my side,“ said the navigator René Kilián with an ironic and tired smile. "Today there was a lot of dust on the way making overtaking virtually impossible. Otherwise the stage was very nice and I think that if we had started a little more in the front we would certainly have made a lot of trouble to the Kamaz trucks too.“
Luckily this time again Martin will have a chance to start from a better position that the one deserved on the basis of his result of stage five. The benefit of the "wild card" in stage six will be the more valuable due to the fact that the trucks and the passenger cars will start together for the stage destination at Iquique. Martin ´s starting position will thus be 48th, or 12th among the trucks, after the Dutch pilot Stacey. "Luckily we will not have to start from position 19 for tomorrow ´s stage as this would be together with the passenger cars from a position somewhere around 60, which would involve much more overtaking ad much more risk,“ said the navigator René Kilián.
Luckily the accident damaged neither the crew nor their Tatra 815 Buggyra, as was confirmed by the technical director of the team Robin Dolejš: "FATBOY survived the jump without any harm, with just a couple of cosmetic scars which are integral to Dakar. The boys will start for stage six early in the morning and so we must manage everyday maintenance in time for them to start off properly.“
"Unfortunately, Dakar is cruel and does include days like yesterday. The most important thing is that we are still in the game. The stages are more and more difficult and as you can see, traps are waiting everywhere and for anybody. Anyway, tomorrow we will have to cover another transfer and then for 4 following days we will stay at Iquique. The best timing for everybody need a rest. Our accompaniment eventually only arrived at five in the morning and the boys then worked on the truck until the stage start, which makes 3 nonstop days for them now," was the comment on the recent situation by the team manager of TATRA Buggyra Racing Jan Kalivoda.
Martin Macík junior will probably be the first Czech prematurely leaving this year ´s Dakar Rally after today. Two hundred and fifty kilometres before the finish he had to stop his race truck because of a differential failure and thus his start for the next stage is seriously threatened. His continuation is still to be discussed and the result of the discussion will only be revealed by the morning starting list, where he is not included yet. The same thing has happened to the Dutch pilot De Rooy who continues in the race.