Jan 11, 2017
Argentinian Salta met the rally-marathon participants with rain. Bad weather conditions still chase Dakar. However, the contestants are not going to forgive the race officials for it, as they were aware of the rain season in these parts. At the same time they highly commended the work of the race director Marc Coma, because he managed to create a various and at the same time challenging route without “sandy” and “desert” countries like Chile and Peru with Atacama Desert. Thus, in some ways he could regain the reputation of the race after straight and boring tracks (similar to classical rally tracks) of recent years.
The race crews might be even happier with the work of the five-time winner of Dakar if the tracks were dry and they were not cut due to constant rains. As, for example, it happened today on the stage Uyuni – Salta with the truck category. Instead of 492 km of the second part of yesterday’s marathon, they left only 171 km and the Argentinian part of today’s route was cancelled. However, KAMAZ-master crews snatched the opportunity to improve their positions in the general standings.
As a reminder, yesterday due to the rules of the marathon stage all race crews stayed without assistance teams on the bovouac in Uyuni. After the rest day in La Pas mechanics and assistance vehicles started to Salta and in case of any breakdowns the sportsmen could rely on themselves only.
The Dutchman Martin Van Den Brink finished first today. Let us remind you that already on the third stage of Dakar his bonnet Renault Sherpa made him lose 13 hours due to the engine problems, that threw him to the very end of the truck standings. Despite the fact he decided to use the rest stages for training and testing his truck. As you can see, the Dutch has already refilled his collection of stage victories in the Dakar. The Argentinian Federico Villagra (Iveco) is second today, losing only 17 seconds in favor of the leader. The third position belongs to the crew Nikolaev-Yakovlev-Rybakov(+00:00:42), and the crew Sotnikov-Akhmadeev-Leonov take the fourth position(+00:02:42).
Gerard De Rooy lost approximately 7 min for the wheel change on his way to WP3. Fortunately, our crews didn’t have problems the wheels. This year our team test Continental tires and they allow the trucks finish the specials. For example, today Eduard Nikolaev stopped on the service point on the assistance route after the finish of the special. After the mountanious section the brakes ran hot and they made the tires warm. When the truck stopped, we heard a strong explosion! It was a rear wheel that exploded.
It’s a big plus for the tire partner of the team that the tires could do till the very finish and the crew didn’t lose time for exchange.
Thus, today’s special brought two KAMAZ-trucks to the first and second places in the general classification of the truck category after 8 legs. However, there is a minimum gap between the Russians and their rival Gerard De Rooy – only 2 min 20 sec.
A disappointing moment is that the rest two Russian crews will hardly manage to battle for the top places in the general standings. Airat Mardeev got stuck in a dangerous way out of the river-bed. The truck was just planted in the loose and wet sand. A lot of trucks and cars were at a stadstill there too, including Hans Stacey(MAN).
The fast assistance of Anton Shibalov stopped to pull out the teammate’s truck. All towing ropes were ripped, the truck was rescued but they lost a lot of time. During this difficult operation the tow tore again and got into the rear part of Anton’s truck and broke accumulators. They had to drive to the finish only with the help of the generator.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t get comments from the sportsmen before finishing the press-release. In the evening of 10 January the Dakar was divided into several parts. As a massive landslide washed away the road, part of contestants and assistance got stuck in the traffic jam on the way to Salta. For those, who managed to drive through this place and who went to Salta on loop roads, the race authorities hurriedly organized a new bivouac located in 40 km from the town. The main part of the race officials and journalists went from Uyuni by plane and stayed on the initial bivouac in Salta.
The logistics of KAMAZ-master team was complicated with the fact that on 9 January the engine on the assistance truck of Fidan Sadykov went out of order while he was driving from La Pas along the curvy roads. His truck was towed by the truck of Vyacheslav Erkhonin. On 10 January the mechanics of the team could repair the truck and now it is going to Salta under its own power.
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