Kazakhstan crews retain positions after 8th stage of Dakar 16 января 2014, 01:51
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Photo courtesy of the press-service of the Astana Motorsports
Kazakhstan crews have successfully completed the eighth stage of the super marathon rally race Dakar 2014, Tengrinews reports. The eighth stage between Bolivian city of Uyuni and Calama city of Chile took place on January 13. The racers crossed the Andes and continued the race in Chile. Pilots who are good at driving fast in constrain road conditions enjoyed the stage despite all its difficulties. The day was hard and long, there were two high-altitude mountain passes of over 4000 meters above the sea level, and many racers were suffering from height sickness again. It was for the second day in a row that the vehicles and people were overcoming the tough conditions. However, the Kazakhstan crews successfully continued the race. Photo courtesy of Astana Motorsports. The other off-road crew of Aidyn Rakhimbayev and Vladimir Demyanenko (#342) are still keeping the 13th position in the general ranking of the Dakar rally. They completed the eighth stage in the 21st place. Photo courtesy of Astana Motorsports. Pilot Aidyn Rakhimbayev shared his impressions of the stage on his Facebook page as usual. “Day nine of Dakar rally. Today we crossed the Andes. It was a good track for Minies. High-altitudes, high-speed straightaways are good for the forced air turbodiesels with motor torque of 900! They were leading the stage together with Buggies. We are not complaining. Three days of Chilean sands are awaiting us! We crossed the border during the liaison in the Andes, we didn't even have to get out of our cars, it took us 30 seconds to show our passports and visas. "Our engine still wasn't generating enough power because of lack of oxygen, but we ourselves have got used to the altitude. The car is still inclined to the left (after the accident at the 7th stage) despite the repairs, perhaps the axis is offset... We felt it especially badly at turns. Our mechanics promised to figure out what's wrong with the car after between the stages. Fortunately we had no more "adventures" today. We finished in the the 20th place, 40 seconds behind the 19th place! By the way, Boris Garafulic on his Mini who finished in the 19th place and is the 12th position in the overall. We are losing 1 minute 30 seconds to him in the overall! He is a professional racer, a Chilean star. I can imagine how fast he will be driving enjoying the coming stages in his home country. "Speaking in general, the today's race was amazingly calm for everybody. Chileans are very patriotic fans. Flags changed along the way to big bright Chilean ones. My navigator went to take a nap right away after the stage finished, he didn’t sleep since yesterday, because every evening they spend 3 or 4 hour putting together the road book, staying up late until 1 or 2 a.m., and today we had to woke up at 4 a.m.. The more accurate road book the navigator makes for a stage, the faster the crew will go. Every day the navigators receive a legend – a road book with the track description for the next day. The road book indicates obstacles, courses and checkpoints of the track. The tracks are never the same, and the racers are not allowed to study them beforehand. There are 30 or 40 checkpoints per a stage. When a car reaches the right location and the satellite records its GPS signal from there, achievement of the checkpoint is registered for the crew. For example, a checkpoint may be located at the top of a dune. And unless a car climbs the dune, the checkpoint is not registered to it and the crew gets a one hour penalty for not reaching a checkpoint. A car that fails to reach two checkpoints during one stage is disqualified. "We covered 6m263 kilometers over the past nine days of the Dakar marathon rally. Tomorrow we are going to drive another 459 kilometers, and I think the sandy track will be more exciting," Rakhimbayev wrote. The day was not very good for the other Kazakhstan crew of Denis Berezovsky and Ignat Falkov (#413) experiences problems with their engine during the stage. The racers moved down to the 49th line in the overall after they finished the stage in the 77th place. The truck of Astana Motorsports Team leader Arthur Ardavichus finished the stage in the 28th place and kept its 23th place in the overall of the Dakar. Photo courtesy of Astana Motorsports. "I think, our engineers have made the impossible overnight: they have set the truck back on its wheels. The vehicle was seriously damaged in the accident in the canyon during the seventh stage. And the engineering committee of the race said they will permit us to continue the race only in case the vehicle is ready and complies with all the technical regulations of the race in time for the start the next stage in the morning. For 7 hours mechanics were doing everything possible and impossible to make the truck ready for the start. And now, after this accident, my task is to drive the vehicle very carefully, to prevent it from falling apart even further. Because the metal and joints are not longer the same as they used to be, they have tiny cracks and hidden defects that we do not yet recognize as such. And repeated hits or jumps, frontal or side impacts are likely to trigger a chain reactions with not joint breaking down after another. This may cause another accident. I have decreased my pace and i am driving the truck very carefully, to make sure I get to the finish," Arthur Ardavichus said. According to Ardavichus, it is hard to change from a leader's pace to the safe and reserved driving mode, but the priority is to get the truck to the Dakar finish. This is not just a different tactics, but would also mean a different stage time. The hardest days of the race still await the racers: the route specifications are becoming more complicated, the loads become higher and the special stages become longer. The ninth stage of the international marathon rally is 459-kilometer long with 422 kilometers of special stage.