Strong wind botched Buggyra Racing plans
This year’s Dakar Rally continued with the 10th stage, also marked as the marathon stage. However, it had to be shortened due to the safety concerns following a strong wind. Despite Martin Šoltys and Josef Macháček bet everything on a tactical approach, they have managed to keep their positions.
It was supposed to be the 2nd longest day of this year’s Dakar. The marathon stage is a two-day challenge, with 534-kilometre long timed stage today and an additional 379 kilometres on Thursday. As always in the marathon stages, crews would have to face it alone, without their teams and mechanics in tonight’s bivouac. And that was also what the Buggyra Racing team made its strategy about. “The beginning was pretty tough. We had a nice sand terrain, but then we got some issues with electronics and we lost all our gauges in the cabin. We fixed it in the neutral zone, but then we got the message that the 2nd half of the stage is cancelled. I understand why the organisers did it, but it’s a shame considering our strategy,” said Martin Šoltys who finished in the 13th place today.
Both crews planned to take it easy in the beginning. “We’ve been struggling with a strong wind since yesterday. And it had an impact on the 10th stage. The organisers know what they’re doing. There were several accidents on the track today and it looks like the helicopters couldn’t get in the air due to such strong wind. Of course, it’s a shame, because our crews approached this stage very tactically and, in the end, they only did half of the 534-kilometre long stage. But the loses are not significant,” said the team manager Jan Kalivoda.
“Every kilometre counts. It’s a shame because we opted for a cautious approach in the beginning. But we can’t do anything about the decision. We continue to our bivouac, where we will enjoy a bit of a free day and tomorrow, we want to push hard again,” said Josef Macháček who finished today’s shortened stage in the 17th position.
On Thursday, the crews will have to tackle 744 kilometres in total, out of which 379 will be as a timed stage. The Dakar Rally now moves to the biggest desert in the world Rub’ al Khali, which is familiar to many drivers from rally competitions in the United Arab Emirates. The terrain there should offer lots of interesting fields of dunes that could make a difference in the overall classification.