Dramatic moments in the dunes for Ourednicek and Kripal
The Ford Ranger Phoenix of Tomas Ourednicek an David Kripal have risen again, this time literally from ashes. The car caught fire at km 204 of Thursday’s Stage 6 but due to the heroic efforts of the mechanics, Tomas and David were able to complete Stage 7 as well, with an excellent 6th time.
After a good start, Tomas and David experienced horrible moments at km 204 of Thursday’s Stage 6 of Morocco Desert Challenge. “Yesterday we started well, we had a good pace, we wanted to attack to have a good result because in 2017 we won this special stage. About halfway into the stage, we got stuck on the top of a dune. It was my mistake, but I thought we could get out quickly, using the hydraulic jack. But as I started it, I suddenly heard David yelling ‘It’s burning!’. We got out of the car, and the sight was terrible… We tried to put the fire out with the manual extinguisher, then David activated the automatic extinguisher system, too, but the bottom of the car was still in flames. We reported the fire to the organisers through the Iritrack. Then David had the idea of putting sand on the fire, so we started throwing sand on it from both sides. And that finally helped. But the moments of seeing our car, just rebuilt after last year’s accident, burning were the worst of my racing career. Worse than the crash when we rolled nine times,” Tomas recalled.
The car was then towed by the “sweeper” truck to the road, where they were hitchhiking and finally a family from Spain, being on vacation, stopped to help the crew and towed the car to the bivouac. There the mechanics found out that a hydraulic pipe was broken, with the oil spilling directly on the hot exhaust, this caused the fire. Working all night long with the help of the mechanics of South Racing, the team finally managed to make the Ranger “fit” for the next race day.
Stage 7 meant a new beginning for the team. But the 427 kilometres against the clock between Merzouga and Bouarfa were not that easy either.
„We asked for a better starting position, so we didn’t have to start from behind. But being the first 4x4 car in the dunes, after some trucks have already passed, was not easy either. It was a tough day, however. While the car was rebuilt after yesterday’s fire due to the heroic effort of our mechanics and the mechanics of South Racing, who helped us, today we experienced a problem with the steering. To the left it was OK, but I couldn’t turn to the right! Due to this, we lost some time in the fast part. I just hoped that it would last until the end of the stage… But finally we were able to finish, and even our result seems to be quite good. We are now looking forward to tomorrow’s last stage, hoping to be able to finish this dramatic race,” Tomas concluded.
“Today was great, the navigation was difficult, but our result is very nice. After yesterday, we are extremely happy to be in the finish of the penultimate stage of the rally. We have to change the steering tonight, but hopefully we can finish tomorrow,” David added.
On Saturday, the last stage of Morocco Desert Challenge brings the crews from Bouarfa to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, to Saidia, where the finish and the prizegiving ceremony will take place after the 219 km long last timed section.