VIDEO: Casale lucky to be 13th in the end, Macháček stuck in desert
There is the first time for everything. Ignacio Casale and his crew got their first taste of being stage leaders this year. However, everything nice must end at some point, and that is exactly what happened. But considering the circumstances, 13th place is quite a success. Josef Macháček lost a lot of time and arrived at the bivouac late in the evening after technical problems.
The penultimate stage of the event was a loop around Bisha (500 km / 345 km) and it was expected to be a game-changer for this year’s Dakar Rally. More than half of the stage went through dunes of varying sizes, shapes, and difficulty.
The unknown fate of a champion
Josef Macháček, who is a reigning champion until tomorrow, started the stage from 7th place. However, by the time this press release was issued, he still did not make it to the finish line. “All I can say is that many light prototypes had ended their journey in this stage. Macháček got into trouble and we’re trying to solve them. We will keep you posted,” said the team principal Martin Koloc.
That is what Dakar is about
At the finish line, Ignacio Casale could definitely say that while it could have gone even better, a good ending means that everything is good. “We were doing great. I wasn’t so surprised when I saw after the first third of the stage that we’re leading. But then we got stuck in dunes,” said the Chilean driver, who got helped by Martin Macík. “This is what Dakar is about, thank you, Martin,” added Ignacio a message to his competitor. But the technical troubles did not end there. “We had two punctures, one even after the finish. And we also had a broken steering linkage. We really enjoyed ourselves today. The organisers had promised us a challenge, and they were right.”
“The most difficult stage so far, we really had it all. In the beginning, there was a navigational mess, which we had handled perfectly and after 170 kilometres, we were in 2nd place. Then in the dunes, Nikolaev and Sotnikov got ahead of us, and after another 20 kilometres, we got stuck. When I was doing my second shovel, Martin Macík was just passing by, using the horn. I took out our rope and he helped us. So, a big thanks to Martin and his crew. Just like Ignacio says, that’s what Dakar is about. Then we had an issue with the steering. The guys had helped, and we fixed it within 30 minutes. However, that was not the end, as around 20 kilometres before the end, our front tyre exploded. An interesting fact is that I was inflating the left one for 200 kilometres already at that point, and that one luckily survived until the finish line,” continued Tomáš Šikola.
Results – Stage 11
T3 – Light prototypes: 1. Seth Quintero (USA/OT 3) 3:57:53, 2. Sebastian Eriksson (Sweden/Can – Am) +15:18, 3. Lopez Conrado (Chile/Can – Am) + 15: 38 …. 33. Josef Macháček (Czech Republic/Buggyra Can – Am) +29:47:07
T5 - Trucks: 1. Eduard Nikolaev (Russia/Kamaz) 3:54:45, 2. Andrey Karginov (Russia/Kamaz) +0:05, 3. Dmitry Sotnikov (Russia/Kamaz) + 2:00… 13. Ignacio Casale (Chile/Tatra) +1:08:35
Current standings after Stage 11
T3 – Light prototypes: 1. Lopez Contardo (Chile/Can – Am) 43:56:34, 2. Sebastian Erikson (Sweden/Can – Am) +55:36, 3. Cristina Gutierrez – Herrero (Spain/OT 3) 4:31:22… 28. Josef Macháček (Czech Republic/Buggyra Can – Am ) +35:49:55
T5 - Trucks: 1. Dmitry Sotnikov (Russia/Kamaz) 39:54:53, 2. Eduard Nikolaev (Russia/Kamaz) +8:18, 3. Anton Shibalov (Russia/Kamaz) +1:04:50… 27. Ignacio Casale (Chile/Tatra) +75:12:26