Kazakhstan's crew enters Top 10 at Dakar16 january 2015, 00:22
Astana Motorsports driver Aydin Rakhimbayev and navigator Anton Nikolaev, racing under number 329, have maintained their 10th position in the overall rankings after the ninth stage of Dakar that ended on January 13, Tengrinews reports.
The participants drove 88 km of liaison and 450 km of special stages from the Chilean town of Iquique to San Pedro de Atacama: a route comprising sand, gravels, fesh-fesh and dunes, hills and a dry river bed.
“During the stage we had to climb to the altitude of 3,600 km,” Aydin Rakhimbayev commented on the route, “This weakened the engines and made the cars harder to drive, because in a controlled drifting, power is needed to drive a car. Here we had to adjust to the car. It was difficult to navigate, the most difficult of route at the entire Dakar».
However, despite the difficulties, the Kazakh crew of Rakhimbayev and Nikolaev on their MINI (#329) finished the stage in the 14th place, thus getting the 10th line in the overall standings.
Kazakhstan's crew of Bauyrzhan Issabayev and Vadim Demyanenko (#340, Toyota Hilux Overdrive) came 16th at the stage and 17th in the general standings.
Another Kazakhstan's racer Artur Ardavichus with his navigator Alexey Nikizhev (#542,Tatra T163) was ninth at the stage and 21st in the overall rankings. At the eighth stage, the crew had problems with their truck - lasting overload split the truck’s collector. But now they returned to the race.
That far, the competitors drove 6,316 km with four days and around 3,000 km left.
Only 68 cars made it to the finish after the ninth stage. Over 50 percent of the participants had withdrawn since the beginning of the race. Part of them went back home, some were in the hospital because incidents are not so rare at Dakar.
According to Aidar Rakhimbayev, Dakar does not forgive mistakes, and therefore the drivers have to be very careful. He recalled two incidents that happened during the seventh stage in Bolivia, when two cars overturned at the same section of the route. The first one belonged to the crew from Argentina - Juan Silva and Juan Pablo Sisterna (#336, Colcar RT Mercedes Benz prototype) and another one was the car of Canadian Mathew Campbell and his two co-pilots Luiz Ramirez and Nicolas Ambriz (#356, Durango Jimko). Fortunately, all five men survived. “They were driving a buggy, a large car,” Rakhimbayev said , “The cars overturned and failing to land properly they caught fire”.
Watching this video makes it easy to understand why the rules of Dakar are so very strict. And that does not only concerns cars. Organizers check all the pilots and navigators before the race. They all have to be in gear: helmets, fireproof overalls, gloves, and fastened at five points. Only after that check can the car start the race.
Writing by Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina