Dakar 2024: Excellent pace and scary moment for Toyota Gazoo Racing Czech in prologue
The 46th edition of the Dakar Rally kicked off today with a 27 km long prologue. The Toyota Hilux performed exceptionally well, setting a good pace. Tomas Ourednicek and David Kripal were having a positive experience until the last kilometers when they found themselves colliding head-on with a Century buggy that drove in the opposite way. Fortunately, the impact was minor, no one was injured, and the damage to the car was not severe. However, the incident caused the Toyota Gazoo Racing Czech crew to lose time and drop several positions in the rankings.
“It was a really hard day. We had everything managed: a new tire, the TPMS sensor for the tires, and a new mapping, which we reviewed with the engineer an hour before the start. Everything was great. Then, 15 minutes before the actual start, while adjusting the pressure in the new tires, we noticed the right rear tire was losing pressure, so we had to change it. This cost us our preparation time. During the stage, the car's power was incredible. We caught up with the car that started one and a half minutes before us within the first few kilometers, so I thought our pace was fantastic. Then, about 19 or 20 kilometers into the stage, near a hill, car #246 was coming towards us on the track. Despite both of us braking, there was still a touch. The damage isn’t major, just the front mask, but we lost a lot of time. The worst part is that the driver of car #246 didn’t apologize after the stage, so we plan to make an official statement to the FIA about the incident. We lost a potentially good position because our pace was great. After finishing, we discovered some issues with the rear driveshafts, which David had to fix. Now his brand new OMP racing suit is very dirty,” Tomas Ourednicek commented after the finish.
“Today’s track was a perfect experience for an opening day. We had a perfect tempo, it’s really a pity that we collided with #246,” co-driver David Kripal added.
Tomorrow, the crews will delve into the heart of the competition as the first stage of the 46th Dakar Rally takes them from Al Ula to Al Henakiyah. This stage will feature a challenging 405-kilometer special against the clock.