Valtr Overtakes Gordon abd Ranks Fifth, Kolomý Finishes Stage after Nightfall
Jaroslav Valtr has achieved his best stage ranking so far with his Tatra Phoenix with assistance of his crew consisting of Josef Kalina and Jiří Stross. The crew was classified as fourth in the finish, but after changed time of the Dutch pilot Versluis Valtr was overtaken by him and ended with fifth stage rank. Jarda´s loss after the quickest pilot De Rooy is mere thirteen and a half minutes which shows that both the pilot and the truck do belong to the top of the truck category.
“The first part was very dramatic for suddenly Robbie Gordon appeared in front of us and began to brake and accelerate in turns. When we wanted to overtake him he began to block us. In the end we slightly shook up his mudguard but he did not even dare to go and complain in the finish. When we finally got rid of him we were nearly shot off by Stacey, so we really cannot complain of boredom. The second part of the track was wrecked which matched our Tatra and so we luckily began to overtake both Ivecos and Mans without problems. Then I was a little afraid of Pepíček, but in the evening he was fortunately again full of humour and so I believe we will come to the end of the battle all right together,” reminded Valtr of the health condition of Josef Kalina in the finish of the stage. The navigator and triple winner of Dakar Rally literally collapsed in the finish after the demanding and quick ride. Only after having reached the bivouac and having been treated by the team physiotherapist he could fully enjoy the atmosphere of the good result.
The newcomer to this year´s Dakar Rally Jiří Stross received the nice result of the stage as his thirty-fifth birthday present. Phoenix congratulated him not only with the excellent performance but also with a couple of hits of his body. It also supported Jarda Valtr in this stage in a crisis when the vehicle was slowly falling down a cliff. “The boys pleased me a lot today, but the greatest pleasure was probably the result. We tried the dunes for the first time and it was a fantastic experience. Phoenix works absolutely. We encountered a small crisis when we were falling down a cliff but Jarda managed it and we are here. The tomorrow´s stage is to be similar and so we are all very much looking forward to it,” said Jirka.
Martin Kolomý entered the second half of the Dakar Rally after the rest day with an ambition to improve the overall result but the eighth stage crossed all his hopes. The FAT BOY racing special reached the finish in Belen with a three-hour loss already after nightfall making it clear that Kolomý is not to improve his result of 2013, the best so far, this year. The most likely cause was the accidents in the fifth and the sixth stages. The two hard hits caused engine axis shift. “We started very well in the morning and probably ranked somewhere around the fifth rank but then the engine began to bang and we had to address a lot of technical issues, which we continued to resolve until now in fact. We are glad we were able to reach the finish. We will not achieve any decent result any more but we are certainly determined to struggle and at least finish the race. The repair was quite time-consuming, as we had to stop twice for an hour or two, we struggled with it a little, but eventually we managed the repair and arrive here. The dune section was rainy as well and driving in the darkness causes you cannot see the trail, so to finish the stage was real difficult for us,“ was Kolomý´s comment on the day.
“This was a very difficult stage indeed, for we started after two trucks and could not overtake them in the thick dust cloud that formed after them. In the second part the car in front of us was trapped in the sand. Our engine began to overheat and so we were trapped too. We took a long time to get out. Then we also helped another crew whose car fell on the side. Only after all that we were able to resume our tempo and overtake a couple of vehicles. The start from the rear of the starting field made the situation more difficult to us and so we are more than satisfied with the result,“ summarised Tomáš Ouředníček the eighth stage.