Dakar 2024: Hard night, hard day
Today’s Stage 4 between Al Salamiya and Al Hofuf featured a 299 km special stage. While it might have been slightly shorter than the previous stages, it was by no means easier, especially for the Toyota Gazoo Racing Czech crew of Tomas Ourednicek and David Kripal. According to the unofficial classification, they finished 47th today and are currently 35th overall.
“Yesterday in the marathon bivouac, we tried to notify the Stewards about helping two crews on the special stage, but nobody from the FIA was present. We waited for an hour and then prepared a written notice. The response we received was that they might consider giving us back some time, but it was already too late to make changes to the start list, which would have been the most important for us.
So, once again, we started quite far behind, but the major issue was that I couldn't sleep during the night. I still have back pain, and sleeping on the carpet in the tent was not a good idea. It was also very, very cold, so I woke up in the night to go for a short time to the fireplace, to get a little bit warmer, but for my back it wasn’t good either.
Despite all this, after the start, we had a nice pace, but then it became extremely dusty. Only after half an hour or one hour, we got a clean road in front of us again. But the vehicle in front of us took the wrong way, and we followed, losing 20 minutes or so.
After that, we lost our good mood and a bit of our pace, too. It was very difficult for me to concentrate, and I made some small mistakes.
Around 3 kilometers before the finish line, we heard a loud noise, which turned out to be the hydraulic jack breaking. This meant we lost power steering as well, forcing me to navigate the dunes without it. Now, we have another 300 kilometers to cover to reach the bivouac, where I hope we can repair everything," summarized an extremely tired Tomas Ourednicek.
Tomorrow, the special stage will be the shortest so far, only 118 km, but with the road section of more than 500 km, everyone will have a long day once again.