The 1st stage was a rollercoaster. Šoltys 5th, Macháček still on the track
The opening stage of the 42nd edition of Dakar Rally proved really rough. Josef Macháček can confirm that as he is still on the track after technical issues. On the other hand, it went very well for Martin Šoltys and his crew driving Tatra Phoenix. They have finished on a joined 5th position.
It went very well for Martin Šoltys, David Schovánek and Tomáš Šikola since the first kilometres. They have managed to finish 5th in the Trucks classification, together with another Czech crew of Martin Macík. Their gap to the leader Anton Šibalov (Kamaz) is 4 minutes and 52 seconds.
“I think the 5th place is really amazing, considering this is the 1st stage and we had to pass all the quads and deal with so many rocks. Just our alternator stopped generating energy halfway through the stage. We slowed down, just in case, because I was worried, we would have to stop and fix it. There were so many rocks that were causing punctures and we were lucky to avoid that. So, all good,” said Martin Šoltys in the finish.
Unfortunately, the other crew, Josef Macháček and Vlastimil Tošenovský had to stop after the 3rd kilometre due to a broken air intake duct. But they are both fighters and after fixing the issue on their Buggyra MK50 XRS, they continue in the race.
“We knew that the SSV category will be difficult, but it could have happened much later and not during the 1st stage. The important thing is that they’ve fixed it and they can continue. We believe they’re going to make it to bivouac in time, so they can continue tomorrow and gather more data. We have to praise Martin Šoltys. His very humble approach to Dakar is bearing fruit,” said Jan Kalivoda with mixed feelings after the opening stage.
The 2nd stage will bring Dakar Rally participants from Al Wajh to Neom, which is 367 kilometres long but has only 34 kilometres of crossings. The terrain will consist mostly of soil, with the rest being made of stones and sand.