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Dakar's 9th stage no piece of cake for Kazakhstan racers

17 january 2014, 13:06
0
Photo courtesy of the press-service of the Astana Motorsports
Photo courtesy of the press-service of the Astana Motorsports
The ninth stage of Dakar wasn't easy for Kazakhstan racers. The racers had to cover 459 kilometers of long special section, with dunes comprising 150 kilometers of the distance.The speeds were high and the day was hard, but all three Kazakhstan crews managed to retain their positions in the Dakar overall, Tengrinews reports.

The Tatra truck of Arthur Ardavichus was very close to the Top 10 of the ninth stage, finishing the distance in the 12th place. The crew moved 2 lines up to the 21st place in the general ranking of the race.

"Today was a rough day. We applied 100% of our efforts. And I'm glad to say this, because today our vehicle had to race without the front drive. We could turn the front-wheel drive for a shot time only, when the truck was climbing and we "attached" dunes or high hills. But we had to turn the front drive off as soon as we crossed the ridge, because we don't know how much it will last: it can break down any moment, but it is impossible to replace. We were hoping against hope that it would survive the today’s race and it did. However we drove 95% of the distance using the back wheel drive alone.

"Driving an unstable vehicle is very difficult. We had to drop the speed and overload the engine. I was worried that we would run out of fuel, and I was also worried that after our vehicle went through a serious accident and had some defects. The metal is weak in some places and it we load it too much the deformation would continue.

"We started the stage from 26th position and finished it in the 12th place. This is our style. We are fast and we did it today! I hope the luck will smile on us tomorrow again," Ardavichus said.

Two off-road crews of Astana Motorsports also showed some good driving and keeping their overall results stable.


Photo courtesy of Astana Motorsports.

The crew of Aidyn Rakhimbayev and Vladimir Berezovsky completed the ninth stage in the 18th place and moved down to the 14th line losing one line in the general ranking of the race.

"Day ten of the Dakar rally. It was a very tough day. 37 kilometers of liaison and 442km-long rocking, dusty special section covered with dry gullies and scours. It was like driving on the Moon... We started in the 24th position with a couple of priority racers in front of us. As I told you, there are 33 priority racers at this year's Dakar. They are the winners of World Cup 2013 stages or famous racers. In case these racers are at the tail of the race due to technical or other difficulties, for safety reasons (pace, overtaking, previous achievements) they have the priority right to start the stage in the first twenty. None of the Kazakhstani racers are among those priority racers...

"Russian Andrey Karginov, from KAMAZ team started from the 23rd position right before us. The stage started with an uphill track along dry river beds. We could not overtake him during the first 60 kilometers of the special section. Our dynamics was better, but he was rushing forward like a locomotive, leaving huge clouds of dust behind him. These was not wind and the dust clouds prevented us from reach him, let alone overtake him.


Photo courtesy of Astana Motorsports.

"After we finally overtook him, we got a new target: Chilean racer Garafulic! At kilometer 180 we managed to catch up with him, but it was all the same again during the next 20 kilometers : clouds of dust and rocks from under his wheels. We took advantage of his mistake: he drove round a ravine from the right side and we went from the left. By that time we had passed four cars standing one the side of the road with various breakdowns: one MINI, two Ford HRXs and Baldwin’s Chevrolet Buggy with its rear part sticking out of a dry river bed. Carlos Sainz was standing at km 320 with some break down, I think his case was the most bitter, because he is one of Dakar legends, but four days he lost one hour to a penalty and some time at a checkpoint.

"Before the sand section started we managed to overtake two more cars, including Syreyjol’s white Buggy. They were driving around a dry river bed when we took a risk and made a leap of faith straight in. It turned out to be a 1.5-meter height vertical river bank. We just didn't see, what they saw...


Photo courtesy of Astana Motorsports.

"The sand started at kilometer 380. We approached it racing in the 12 place, as Jean Marc, the Toyota fleet boss who is watching every stage via the organizer's satellite channels, told us later. Only 42 kilometers of our favorite dunes was left. We stopped to deflate tires, perhaps lost a bit in time. Garafulic and Syreyjol who were tailing us shot past. They didn't need to deflate tires. Our blood was fuming and adrenaline was rushed through our veins, we were fastening the belts as we dashed after them.

The first five kilometers of the dunes were odd: with sand on one side and rocky soil on the another. Amid the chase we leaded one of the dune tops at a very high speed only to find a very steep slope on the other side of the dune. We flew the next 15 meters narrowly avoided rolling over and continued the chase... Sands gave way to real dunes and on the top of one of the dunes we got caught into a sand trap: when there are two sand hoods on top of a dune, there is a 5-6-meter gap between them, right large enough for the car. We could neither jump over it, nor climb it. We got caught and spent 19 minutes getting out! It was a payback for our rush and ambitions. We were desperately shoveling off the sand to get the car out of the sand with our sand tracks and self-powered hydraulic ramps. While we were doing this our rivals were getting away. We drove the remaining 27 kilometers of dunes very carefully, almost tiptoeing them to make no more mistakes.

"We finished the stage in the 18th place. It was a spectacular example of overestimation of our capabilities and psychological overheating. It is important to keep your head cool at Dakar, and we forgot about it! The tenth day of the race was over with this sad note. And again one mistake lost us six lines in the stage result and three lines in the overall. We have driven 6722 kilometers. The next day of the Dakar will be very a hard one as well. We will be getting ready for it. By the way today, we have reached the Pacific coast today," Rakhimbayev wrote on Facebook.


Photo courtesy of Astana Motorsports.

The Kazakhstan crew of Denis Berezovsky and Ignat Falkov improved their results, completing the stage in the 35th place and advancing to the 43rd line in the Dakar overall.

“Today we started from the 121st position and during the first 6 kilometers outraced seven rivals. There was a lot of fesh-fesh on the track and dunes in the end. We overcame all the obstacles without accidents. We stopped only to deflate tires. As a result we completed the stage with better results that we started it. We were impressed by the devilish slop at the end of the special stage that was 3 kilometers long. It was a breath taking ride because we descending at the speed 130-140 km/h, it was impossible to drive any slower," navigator Ignat Falkov shared.


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