VIDEO: Casale in 5th again, while Macháček remains in TOP 10
Just as the title suggests, both Buggyra drivers delivered consistent performances today. But the stage had a bitter ending, as Martin Macík, who was under the rush of emotions, forgot his good manners and to show respect for his competitors.
After yesterday’s longest stage, the organisers opted for a loop around Wadi Ad Dawasir (490 km / 287 km). The ninth stage started a bit later than usual, to allow latecomers from yesterday to take part. In comparison to previous stages, there was less sand. However, mountains and canyons challenged the navigators again.
Josef Macháček put on his usual performance by finishing in 10th place in the Light prototypes category. In the overall standings, he still holds 7th position. Today, he had to deal only with a belt at the beginning of the stage, but other than that, the day went well for him. “We even had a chance to enjoy the beautiful sceneries. Fast pistas followed by trial rocky sections, I had to be very careful on the tyres. The Can-Am did well today again,” he said.
Crazy on the stage and in the finish
However, the end of the ninth stage brought unexpected adrenalin. Martin Macík, who finished 3rd in today’s stage, felt like he had been blocked by Ignacio Casale. “I don’t know about any problem on the route today, but I’m also not sure that you should show your frustration like this. And I’ve been to Dakar many times and I think that I’ve achieved a thing or two. I’d like to see more mutual respect,” reacted Ignacio Casale diplomatically to the accusations that he was blocking Macík, who felt faster, and thought that Casale had denied him a potential victory. “Other than that, I consider our 5th place as a success. It was a difficult, but fast stage. I think I did 80% on full throttle. But now, I want to focus on tomorrow already.”
According to the mechanic Tomáš Šikola, in the neutral zone, nothing suggested that there might be a conflict later on. “I was approached by someone from Martin’s crew, who had told me, that they were 20 metres behind us, and we didn’t want to let them by. All I can say is that we received a signal from the sentinel in the mountains, where it’s not easy to let someone go. And then we heard the horn twice in the dunes. And they could have passed us anytime and anywhere else, but they probably weren’t that close or fast enough. To be honest, I have no idea what’s going on. I think that such reaction from Martin is unnecessary,” explained Šikola, who also added that it was pretty fast. “We had dunes number 2 and 3. However, after yesterday, it went by quite fast.”
Results – Stage 9:
T3 – Light prototypes: 1. Seth Quintero (USA/OT3) 2:50:04, 2. Cristina Gutierrez Herrero (Spain/OT3) +2:20, 3. Lopez Cantardo (Chile/Can – Am) +5:29…10. Josef Macháček (Czech Republic/Buggyra Can-Am) +19:38.
T5 - Trucks: 1. Eduard Nikolaev (Russia/Kamaz) 2:38:43, Dmitry Sotnikov (Russia/Kamaz) +2:34, 3. Martin Macík (Czech Republic/Iveco) + 2:37…5. Ignacio Casale (Chile/Tatra) +4:13
Current standings after Stage 9
T3 – Light prototypes: 1. Lopez Contardo (Chile/Can – Am) 35:47:12, 2. Sebastian Eriksson (Chile/Can – Am XRS) + 1:19:51,3. Fernando Alvarez (Spain/Can – Am) + 3:06:21 …7. Macháček (Czech Republic/Buggyra Can – Am) 6:24:27
T5 - Trucks: 1. Dmitry Sotnikov (Russia/Kamaz) 33:43:53, 2. Eduard Nikolaev (Russia/Kamaz) +8:51, 3. Anton Shibalov (Russia/Kamaz) +41:38… 29. Ignacio Casale (Chile/Tatra) +74:03:16