Macháček leads after 9th stage!
It was really tough. And all the Buggyra Racing drivers agree. According to the organisers, the 9th stage was supposed to be the toughest one yet, and it indeed was. While Josef Macháček pushed really hard, he also tried to save his vehicle as much as possible. And after the category leader Quintero (USA) faced some issues, he took the lead with his Can-Am DV21 special.
Josef Macháček did the almost 500-kilometre-long stage in more than 6 hours. But even though it was long and very tiring, he and his teammate had a reason to be happy.
“The organisers did a really good job. Very difficult navigation, rocks everywhere and the collisions began from 6th kilometre already. We had to watch the electronics, so we just tried to keep the 2nd place overall. But we saw the current leader standing on the track, so let’s wait and see for the updated results after today’s stage. Even though we tried to be really careful, we still had 2 punctures. But I’m really happy with today,” said Josef Macháček, who currently leads the lightweight prototype overall standings. Also, he joined legendary drivers like Peterhansel, who have enjoyed leading the Dakar Rally in two various categories.
Tomáš Enge has also shown an incredible performance on his debut. He finished 2nd in today’s stage, just 47 seconds (!!) behind the winner. “We didn’t run in sand at all today. It all went through pistas or around them and there was so much dust. After yesterday’s issues, we had to overtake lots of vehicles, and we lost tens of minutes. It was another challenge for the endurability of the vehicles and the crews as well. Of course, I’m happy with the result and hopefully, we can utilise a good starting position for tomorrow to fly,” said Tomáš Enge in the bivouac.
The 3-time quad bike category winner Ignacio Casale also had a good run. Halfway through the stage, his truck was even in the lead, but subsequent electronics issues cost him a lot of time. “It was unbelievable. We were overtaking Kamaz trucks and Alvaro and I knew that we could win it today. We were doing great, the navigation was good, but after we stopped, we found out that our battery had died. And we couldn’t start the engine again. It is a big loss and a lesson to learn. But it’s our first year here in the Trucks category, we’re learning. We want to be back next year and fight for the TOP 3,” said the Chilean driver.
And Martin Šoltys had some struggles as well. “We had a problem with screws on the turbo right at the start. Tomáš Šikola and I discussed whether to change it or not. It’s always so hot in there and the change might take up to an hour. We decided to finish it like that, and you can see the loss. Also, we had to deal with a puncture. We stopped by Ignacio, who had battery issues, but we couldn’t help him. So, I’m really glad to make it to the end, because it was all about luck today,” said Šoltys, who finished in 9th place today.
And the 10th stage also does not promise any time to rest. The crews will face a sand terrain across 342 kilometres, where endurance and good navigation will play pivotal roles.