Kolomý´s Chances for Podium End in Dunes Two Stages before Finish!
The pilot of the TATRA Buggyra Racing team Martin Kolomý did not finish the twelfth stage for the reason of broken steering monoblock, which deprives his of his chances to attack podium ranks. However, he is prepared to finish the race anyway, if possible.
As expected by many experts, the last stages of the Silk Way Rally are the worst and fatal to many pilots. Martin Kolomý can add his story to this, after stopping in the middle of sand dunes in stage twelve, started well with one of the leading ranks. The reason for the unfinished stage was broken steering monoblock, an incident after which he had to wait for help from the air in the terrain hard to access from the ground. “Martin has called about the broken steering monoblock and that he had stopped somewhere in a poorly accessible place in the dunes. The boys cannot do anything about it without our help so we have to wait for a helicopter of the organizers to get us there,“ was the first piece of information from the manager of the Roudnice centre Robin Dolejš, who then had to wait for a free slot of one of the helicopters to get to the place where the crew was stuck. “All happened as planned but after arrival on the spot the pilot of the helicopter was unable to land in the demanding terrain so the instruction was to drop the part down to the boys from the height of 20 metres. I must say I did not see so big dunes before in my life, so I was not surprised that the pilot could not land there,“ commented the surprised Dolejš. “After return to the camp the phone rang again. The part broke again as a consequence of the drop from height. So we had to set off by helicopter again. People say that “if something can go wrong it will”. Luckily, drop number two from the height of five metres was more successful and Phoenix could ride on. We are glad we managed to get Martin back on the road and into the race. Luckily, the rules of the SWR, unlike Dakar, allow continuation in the race despite help of the assistance, but the chances for a final top rank are probably away,“ added the tired Dolejš, fighting with fever for two days. Great thanks belong to the principal of the whole Silk Way Rally Vladimir Čagin, who did not hesitate to lend his private helicopter.
The head constructor of the TATRA Buggyra Racing team David Vršecký explained the treachery of racing in dunes. “Steering is a key component, especially in dunes where you drive with deflated tyres and this and the sand put great pressure on the steering. That was also one of the main reasons of our participation in SWR, to test all modifications. After this year´s Dakar we have clearly managed to address the complications with the servo pump, but the problem has probably moved farther along the way. It is a pity to get such a good position in the race and lose the podium two stages before the finish, but that is life,” commented Vršecký. On Friday Martin Kolomý will thus non-voluntarily rank among the pilots who either gave up the race in its first half, like s De Brink, Van Genugten or Aleš Loprais, or continue in the race in the test mode only. “Other favourites have given up as well, and much earlier, but in the beginning one regrets it less than at this stage. But on the other hand, the three sage victories and the covered measured kilometres is something nobody can deprive us of,” added Vršecký.
The Czech pilot of the TATRA Buggyra Racing team dropped after today´s stage to the seventh rank in the interim ranking, with the loss of six hours and eleven minutes after the leading Sotnikov. But he is still determined to finish the race. “So we are in the finish after all. A very long day, but that is part of the racing. Wejumped over the first dunes nicely, but then there was a section of small grassy dunes where the KAMAZs literally flew forward. We let them go saying to ourselves that we would catch up in the big dunes. And we did. One KAMAZ was hanging there on the belly and we got close to the other ones. Unfortunately, I was just preparing to ride over one of the dunes, when suddenly I turned the steering wheel and the wheels did not respond. I knew immediately that this was a problem we could not repair alone, and in addition in a place where nobody could pull us out from. So I am very grateful to the team who got to us despite the big complications they had to overcome,“ commented Kolomý on the problems with the steering.
“It is a great pity to lose an overall top rank just before the finish. We did not arrive here with the aim to win, especially when I saw the competitors taking part, and considering our role of a complete beginner here. But without expecting it, the race developed very well for us. Phoenix flew forward while its competitors fell off. The more regretful this is to me. On the other hand, we have a lof of positive data from testing and we have discovered a weak point we have to improve before the next Dakar,“ commented the disappointed Kolomý at the end of the day on the to-date covered part of the rally, in which he obtained three stage victories, a fourth one yet to be attempted in the last two stages.