The best desert testing ever for Buggyra!
At least these are the words of the Buggyra Racing chief designer David Vršecký, who spent the past two weeks in Dubai with Martin Koloc, his daughters Aliyyah and Yasmeen, who are preparing for Dakar 2023, and three drivers Josef Macháček, Tomáš Enge and Ignacio Casale.
Of course, it is impossible to forget also a large team of mechanics, who had lots of work to do. “From the start, after each testing session, there was a short time for data analysis and then the mechanics began their work. Sometimes, they had to work until the morning, when the temperatures started to be a bit more bearable,” explained David how the whole servicing worked. The team was also regularly receiving spare parts from Europe.
Even a trophy collector sometimes makes an error
There were even some dramatic situations, even including a six-time Dakar winner Josef Macháček, who managed to turn his Cam-Am DV21 upside down. “The data and feelings are clear, we’re making progress. It’s true that while experimenting, I was also trying a new driving style and it didn’t work out. I just hit the brake and just a fraction of a second later, I realised I should have gone with the throttle instead,” said the reigning Dakar champion. “But that’s racing. I took this flight and then the next day, everything was alright.”
Tomáš Enge returned to the desert after several months, so his first testing was more about getting used to everything. “Luckily, it’s still like – you drive, send it somewhere, and then you wait what’s going to happen. It’s clear that we’ve chosen a good path after Dakar, and that we’re going in the right direction.”
The first Dakar camp also went well for Koloc sisters, who even dealt well with the challenge of getting up at 3:45 am. “How many girls can say that they were chasing cars in the desert and were coached by Dakar winners and a former Formula 1 driver. It’s just a shame that we had to end by 10 am,” said Yasmeen.
Better not to rush
For Ignacio Casale, this Dubai testing was the first opportunity to try Tatra Phoenix with an automatic gearbox. “I’m absolutely satisfied. I knew that the Tatra is going to be fast, but I didn’t expect that it’s going to do so much,” said the 3-time quad bike champion. Casale had his debut behind the wheel of a truck in this year’s Dakar, and he won the “unofficial” standings for the trucks with a manual gearbox. “While I’m not much about strong statements, I think that we’re going to be in very good shape in Saudi Arabia next January.”
“Apart from the automatic gearbox, the Tatra also has a new engine that works perfectly well. Now we know that we can add more power in testing conditions. Unfortunately, it’s not working that well in racing conditions just yet. But we’re going to work on the reliability of other components as well, so let’s wait and see. Anyway, we’ve learnt that it’s better not to rush things in endurance racing,” added David Vršecký.
We are not afraid of factory teams
Despite the deep data analysis has not been done just yet, David Vršecký believes it was the best and most productive desert testing yet. “Despite the fact that Ignacio with his Tatra couldn’t keep up with the girls in the dunes, he handled that well,” he laughs.
“The team was working well. Aliyyah and Yasmeen were talking about racing with legends, who have nine Dakar trophies at home. While we’re definitely going to discover something that we can improve, we know, that we’ve made big progress over the past two years. Anyway, it wouldn’t be possible without that. Some people might not like it, but the reality is, that we’re fighting against factory teams. And we’re not afraid of them.”