Valtr in Position of Best Czech, Kolomý Begins Preparation for Dakar 2017
The eighth stage made the biggest stir in the overall ranking of this year´s Dakar Rally despite its shortened course. The reason was not only its specification but also the enormous heat destructing both the pilots and their machines. Motorcyclists collapsed, engines overheated and petrol boiled. Jarda Valtr decently fought the traps of the day and not only ended among the first ten ranks in the stage but even moved up among the best ten in the overall ranking, thus taking up the position of the best Czech pilot on the road. And yet the crew of Jaroslav Valtr needed extreme good luck to achieve this, reaching the finish with three defects. Thanks to the route shortening by a hundred kilometres they did not have to lose time by changing tyres.
“We are glad they shortened the race today. It was literal purgatory, hell on the earth. We and our truck baked. We could not drive, we had to stop and cool us and the engine. We had to drive carefully and we subordinated everything to this strategy. We simply needed to finish the day. In addition we continued with three defects since the half of the route and so we were glad we managed to fill the lost air in the tyres on the way. To repair defects in the heat would be a big problem today. In the beginning we like Versluis buried ourselves in a hole but there were more trucks there with us. The road was very wrecked and the bushes were thorny, it was really very dangerous. Motorcyclists and four-wheelers were lying along the road, and helicopters were flying over our heads bringing water to them. Healthcare providers are very busy today and so we are glad we are in the finish,“ said Jarda Valtr after arrival in Belen.
“At least they shortened the route, otherwise we would have had to change at least two tyres on the road, for they would not have been able to carry us for another 100 kilometres. That would have killed us in the heat, at least me certainly,” Josef Kalina tried to joke.
On the other hand Kolomý and Ouředníček will not bring home any good memories of 12th January at Dakar. Martin ranked 33rd, finishing the stage with technical issues and with a loss of over two hours, and Tomáš arrived at the bivouac absolutely exhausted and with a loss of over six hours. Kolomý was not as low-spirited after the ninth stage as he had been the day before. The pilot of Bruntál knew for certain that all hopes for a decent overall rank were completely thwarted and so he took the rest of the stages as preparation for the next Dakar year. “What can you do, this is what Dakar is about sometimes. Unfortunately, we had to address the same defect as yesterday, probably because of the previous blow. The only positive thing is that we have finished the stage and can continue tomorrow. Overall result plays no role any more but we certainly want to reach the overall finish of the rally. We will take our further Dakar performance as testing of new things we want to deploy for the next Dakar year. I am very sorry for all our fans, who keep their fingers crossed for us and cheer us. I would like to tell them that we will do all we can to get the Bedouin once after all,“ said Martin in the bivouac after the ninth stage, who had started the stage as thirty ninth among trucks and already ranked third at the first timed point!
“If anyone insisted in the beginning that this year´s Dakar is no real Dakar then this is no longer true after today. This stage was exactly what true Dakar is like and what decides about the ranking of the participants. We were quite successful after start and overtook a lot of trucks and cars. Just to reach the finish like that, I believe, would have returned us to the game. Just look at today´s differences in times. Unfortunately, we did not manage, being stopped by a technical issue,” stated the co-pilot David Kilian.
“It was horrible. We could see pilots in tears. Petron in our Hummer was so hot that we had to stop every 400 metres. Drinking water was so hot that we could not drink it. We must tank to the viewers who gave us their water and thus rescued our lives. At one moment we decided to give up completely but then we were informed by the Buggyra team manager that the route was shortened. We were only about 80 kilometres from the finish and so we decided to drive on. We reached the finish with all our physical and psychic strength totally exhausted. Now I cannot say whether we will dare to continue tomorrow,” said the exhausted Tomáš Ouředníček.