Aleš Loprais & Tatra moves up the ranks on Dakar SS3
The crew of Aleš Loprais, Ferran Marco Alcayna and Petr Pokora advanced to the Top Ten in the results of the demanding third stage from San Juan de Marcona to Arequipa and to the thirteenth overall rank in the truck category of Dakar Rally 2019, with a loss of 26 minutes after the tenth ranking Vishnevsky.
In the Acarí region, visited by the famous race for the very first time in its history, the competitors had to cope with dunes most of the day, the demand of which was further multiplied by the altitudes around 2000 m above sea level. The speed test, 331 kilometres long, mixed the overall ranking quite a lot.
Instaforex Loprais Team was not pleased by joint start of trucks and cars for stage three. After the trouble their Tatra with the starting number 507 had the day before the audiences could see the red, white and black racing special as 85th starting vehicle of the starting field, having to make its way through the duct stirred by the cars of the second half of the field.
In the dunes, starting after about fifty kilometres, the Czech pilot felt like fish in water and began to move forward in the ranking.
“I think we were successful in the dunes, or the others were not as successful as we were, and so we overtook most rivals right there,“ recapitulates Aleš Loprais. “On the other hand, we were slower than others in the stony section before the end of the speed test for we did not want to change tyre. There some overtook us in turn. Despite the caution a tyre began to burn twenty kilometres before the finish and we had to extinguish the fire in the finish.“
But that was not the only trouble of the day.
“We had to stop for some oil splashed on the window and I was worried what it was. In addition I made a mistake by starting the wipers which smeared the oil across the windshield. Then our cab dampers broke down again but we already knew it was not engine suspension and so we did not pay much attention to the bangs.“
“As we had to make our way from the rear the result is not as bad today but not what I dreamed about before the start”, admits Loprais with a bitter smile on his lips.
Thursday 10 January is the first day of the marathon stage. Thus the pilots will have to do without assistance of their mechanics in the bivouac in the evening. The starting field will be divided to two groups. Trucks, cars and buggies of the SxS category will be heading towards Moquegua, where they will spend the night. The journey from Arequipa will be together 664 kilometres long, of which 405 kilometres will be the race proper.
Overall interim ranking of trucks after stage 3:
1. Nikolaev / Iakovlev / Rybakov (Kamaz) 9:28:51 hrs
2. Sotnikov / Nikitin / Mustafin (Kamaz) +8:25 s
3. Villagra / Yacopini / Torlaschi (Iveco) +14:12 s
13. Loprais / Marco Alcayna / Pokora +2:27:04 hrs