Dakar: Szalay stage 15 report

Three units of the team in the finish Szalay Dakar Team finished the 28th Dakar Rally with great results, three out of the four units having crossed the finish line are members of the team. No wonder that the team master was satisfied on the ...

Three units of the team in the finish

Szalay Dakar Team finished the 28th Dakar Rally with great results, three out of the four units having crossed the finish line are members of the team. No wonder that the team master was satisfied on the finish podium at Lac Rose, however at the final day there was no timed stage. Organizers decided on not to send the unit in a competition, due to reverent causes, since on Friday and Staurday two African children died in accidents. One of them was hit by a race car at one timed stage, while the other one got disastrously injured by a service truck. Despite this competitors were over near 9000 kilometers on Saturday night, and were sorry for the cancelled stage. Szalay and Bunkoczi did so because it could have been a game of reward where they don't have to take that much care of the car. Varga felt the same, because there are loads of viewers around Lac Rose. Viewers however were satisfied, even Darázsi slid the truck across at times to cheer the fans.

From the Szalay Dakar Team the biker Ákos Varga was 60th, Balázs Szalay and László Bunkoczi were 29th, and the trucker unit of Zsolt Darázsi, Norbert Szalai, György Rack completed the world's toughest field rally competition as 17th. Total distance was 9043 kilometers, out of which specials were 4813 kilometers altogether.

Balázs Szalay, László Bunkoczi (Opel Frontera, 29th)
It was beautiful to sit on the beach before start, maybe even better than arriving to Dakar on Saturday. It was an amazing feeling that we were there, we made it. I am satisfied with results and ranking, especially because we did have hard times. We lost some time due to technological problems and driving mistakes as well, we had a tough run. I wouln't have thought that we'd finish as the only car unit from the Hungarian car team. Not even when there were just three of us left in competition.

I have enetered Dakar 8 times until now and finished 4 times, but the desert could always show me something new, just like this time. One always learns something here. Just to tell you an example, on the first few days when we entered the dunes I thought I wouldn't flatten the tyres a tiny bit, because with such an experience behind me I can hadle the tracks anyway. Well, I didn't make it, so we ended up digging. I learnt from this to honor the opponent, honor the desert.

I am fully satisfied with team achievement, since out of the four units three belongs to our team. I need to add though that organizing tasks around the international formation took much of my time and energy, so in case our co-operation remains, we surely need to change the set-up.

Ákos Varga (KTM, 60th)
I feel that this competiton was tougher than last year, or I did work harder and struggle more to reach the finish line, as I did before. Right at the beginning I received a penalty for having exceeded speed limit, and my injured hand wasn't in the best shape either, so I really couldn't count on a good result overall. In fact I will surely remember Saturday's 8th position for long...

It is great to be here in the finish, good to be over it all, and although I am very happy, I just can't get the accidents and poor Andy Caldecott out of my head. I've entered Dakar twice till now and made it to the finish both occasions. Right now I think I won't come next year. I've seen and experienced too much, and several times events on the track, that others had to experience, scared me. Now both of my daughters have their medals that represent me having completed the Dakar, and that is enough. In case we will have another child and wants a medal too, I might come back.

Zsolt Darázsi, Norbert Szalai, György Rack (MAN, 17th)
We really had to watch our truck in the past few days, since it was near its last. ITs front and back was just hanging there, and we had different technical problems because of this. We even had to do some service work on it the day before the last, on the special, but we are here and that is what matters. I'm really sorry that we dropped one back in ranking, but we had to drive slower to make it to the finish with the truck in one piece. However, on the whole I was enjoying the competiton.

-szalay-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Andy Caldecott , Laszlo Bunkoczi , Balazs Szalay