VIDEO: Macháček gained a position! Casale had to put out fire, but he wants to keep fighting!
Despite more technical issues in Stage 4, the Dakar veteran has managed to improve his position by one place in the overall standings. After a great start, Ignacio Casale faced real drama, as his Tatra ended up in flames. However, the crew wants to continue in the competition.
The fourth and the longest stage of the event, leading from Al Qaisumah to Riyadh (707 km / 465 km), tested the skills of the competitors to adapt to different terrains. While the first 200 kilometres were all about speed, the following part offered dunes of varying sizes. The very end of the special then saw vehicles fighting stones and dried-up riverbeds.
The reigning champion started the stage with the aim to improve on his yesterday’s result, which he managed to fulfil, despite being in 25th place. However, he had to face some drama. “On the 40th kilometre, which is about a tenth into the stage, our half axle cracked. So, we took it out and discussed whether we should run on two wheels only. After the neutral zone, we agreed with Pavel, that considering how difficult the upcoming terrain is, we’re going to change it,” explained Josef Macháček. “We were finishing the last 100 kilometres in the dunes in the dark, so we had to slow down. It was the price we had to pay for previous issues, as we started from the back. We also had this one jump, when we almost threw the Can-Am on the roof. However, after the massacre that we saw along the route, we’re glad to be in the finish and to continue.”
Also, the overall standings show why the LW Proto category is like a sand clock, going upside down all the time. Quintero (USA), who won Prologue and three out of four stages, is currently in 31st position, only due to one retirement. He is currently 16 and half hours behind the leader Lopez Contardo (Chile). His gap to Josef Macháček is over 10 hours.
In the trucks category, the Kamaz domination continued, with Nikolaev, Shibalov and Sotnikov winning the stage today, while Karginov struggled. But Ignacio Casale and the Buggyra team also had a very unlucky day. “As far as I know, he was in rough terrain, when one of the stones flew off, took out an oil hose and the truck burst into fire. Šikola had to use three fire extinguishers to put out the flames,“ explained the head of Buggyra communication Jan Kalivoda, what happened on the route today. “We’re waiting for the guys to arrive at the bivouac and our mechanics will start working on fixing it right away. Of course, we want to continue, but we don’t know how big the damages are.”
Results – Stage 4
T3 - Light prototypes: 1. Seth Quintero (USA/OT3) 4:25:13, 2. Gullieme De Mevius (Belgium/OT3) +7:50, 3. Lopez Contardo (Chile/Can-Am XRS) + 15:26…25. Josef Macháček (Czech Republic/Buggyra Can – Am) + 1:42:26
T5 - Trucks: 1. Eduard Nikolaev (Russia/Kamaz) 4:14:46, 2. Anton Shibalov (Russia/Kamaz) + 3:35, 3. Dmitry Sotnikov (Russia/Kamaz) + 5:35
Current standings after Stage 4
T3 - Light prototypes: 1. Lopez Contardo (Chile/Can – Am XRS) 16:08:33, 2. Sebastien Eriksson (Sweden) +2:02:24, 3. Philippe Pinchedez (France/Can – Am T3RR)… 14. Macháček (Czech Republic/ Buggyra Can – Am) + 4:54:05
T5 - Trucks: 1. Dmitry Sotnikov (Russia/Kamaz) 15:02:53, 2. Eduard Nikolaev (Russia/Kamaz) + 6.10, 3. Anton Shibalov (Russia/Kamaz) + 25:05