Dakar: Szalay stage 12 report

Countback goes on: only three days left The Dakar unit is back to Guinea after ten years, however, only for a flying visit. Two half stages were held in the country, laced by water-crossings. Heat was awful (since it is a tropical climate) ...

Countback goes on: only three days left

The Dakar unit is back to Guinea after ten years, however, only for a flying visit. Two half stages were held in the country, laced by water-crossings. Heat was awful (since it is a tropical climate) and unbearable. Akos Varga, who finished the stage as 38th, said it was just 'brain-boiling hot'.

Good news is however, that the biker, truckers and car unit of the Szalay Dakar Team made it all to the finishline, though late at night. It was especially tough that the only marathon stage of this year's competiton was that on Thursday and Friday, meaning that service trucks could not follow the unit to Labe, they had to solve service from what they had in the truck, car or bikes.

Luckily competitors took good care of the vehicles, although the upcoming three days will probably be tougher than the previous week or so. Partially because they are well aware how much of it they have left, and also because men and technique are more and more exhausted.

Balazs Szalay Balazs, Laszlo Bunkoczi (Opel Frontera, 36th, just as in the overall)
The first part of the stage was rather a trial stage, not really field rally-like. I was even surprised how calm I remained taking the car from the start to the finish. I probably kept in mind that no harm must be made to it, since there is no service opportunity. It was a game of patience on the last 170 kilometers as well, we reached the opponents, and had no chance of passing them by due to the huge dust. We kept going by 100km/hrs all the way, had no chance to reach 120-130km/hrs of speed either. Not to mention that we hit a tree, so we didn't even force to go faster. To our luck it was just a younger, smaller bao-bean tree, but afterwards I really watched my way. It just added up to our troubles that at times the accelerator got stuck on top, which was quite dangerous on the narrow mountain tracks.

Akos Varga (KTM, 38th, 66th overall)
It was a good enduro stage, where we had to ride on such narrow tracks sometimes that it made me wonder how cars will pass these. Then I realized that there was a wider road as well, however, I got off it. Water-crossings were very interesting, at times water level was up to the seat, I couldn't wait to get over that part. Otherwise the stage was really enjoyable, a bit jungly though, where I almost hit a snake. My biggest problem in fact was that at 100km/hrs I almost fell asleep while riding my bike on the special. So I am extremely tired now, and can't wait for competition to end.

Zsolt Darazsi, Norbert Szalai, Gyorgy Rack (MAN, 27th, 16th overall)
We started out with a puncture, which was followed by such a deep water-crossing that the front of the truck almost got into a ditch, however I wasn't even exceeding 10km/hrs. I really had to watch dangerous situations. I had to notice the truth in the saying that trouble doesn't come alone.

After this the exhaust pipe got torn off, it got bent, then twisted into the other direction, and soon after this we had no clutch either. then we had to stop and fix the vehicle. We spent at least fourty-five minutes doing so, but still managed to keep our 16th position overall. Which I am worried about the most is that our brake is hardly working, and as far as I've seen the Friday route, we need to cross a mountain, too. It will be a quite interesting performance to go down the serpentines without brakes...

-szalay-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Akos Varga , Laszlo Bunkoczi , Balazs Szalay