VIDEO: The first challenging stage is successfully over – Casale is 6th and Macháček 12th
Both Buggyra drivers, who have a total of 9 Bedouin trophies from Dakar combined, handled all challenges of the first stage, which was literally a navigational nightmare.
After the opening Prologue, the 44th edition of the Dakar Rally properly started with a loop around Ha’il (564 km / 334 km). And like the head of Buggyra communication Jan Kalivoda described during the race, most of the stage took place in soft sand and it was all about the navigational skills of Pavel Vyoral, Oriol Vidal Montijan and Alvaro Leon.
On the way…
The reining T3 category champion Josef Macháček finished in 12th place, improving by 8 positions in comparison to the Prologue. In the overall standings, he is now in 11th place. “We lost some time at one of the waypoints. It was very difficult, with rutted roads, so after 1 hour and 20 minutes we decided to give up, so we missed one waypoint. I’m glad that we were able to reach bivouac before the sunset. Considering how tough it was in this terrain, the vehicle went well, and it works as expected,” confirmed the Dakar veteran.
The navigator Pavel Vyoral was also full of impressions after the stage. “I’ve experienced a lot, but not anything like this before. You drive, then there’s a vast valley and you don’t know whether you took the right route, and suddenly it all starts to go into a spiral. Tracks? There’s nothing like that. Very deceitful sand…”
Saleh Al Saif, who finished 8th in the Prologue, had a good start. However, later, he faced some unspecified technical issues, and the home driver was forced to stop on the track.
That is Dakar
While Kamaz dominated the Trucks category again, Ignacio Casale managed to take another TOP 10 finish with 6th place, the same in overall standings. And it could have been even better. “Just before the beginning of the stage, we were saying that it was nice how that the organisers let us have a nice drive yesterday, but today it was much more difficult. For the whole time, we were in very soft sand and the stage was extremely difficult for navigation,” confirmed the Chilean driver after crossing the finish line.
“For the first 100 kilometres, we had no issues at all. Then we went into rocks and had a puncture. I was trying to keep the tyre alive for the next 40 kilometres, but in the end, the air was gone, and we had to go out. Then we had to return to one of the waypoints, but we’ve made it to the finish and the truck holds well. Tomorrow, we have the Marathon stage,” added Ignacio’s mechanic Tomáš Šikola.