Dakar: Szalay stage seven report

The toughest day They say there is no toughest day on the Dakar. It is always the tough one on which you have troubles. Well, toppilots told us that still, the stage between Zouerat and Atar is hell, even if one has to deal with the ...

The toughest day

They say there is no toughest day on the Dakar. It is always the tough one on which you have troubles. Well, toppilots told us that still, the stage between Zouerat and Atar is hell, even if one has to deal with the tiniest problems. Balazs Szalay and Laszlo Bunkoczi do like this day, all said that this could be their stage. In fact, they were the best from among the Hungarian group, finished as 42nd. Perhaps the maximalist driver was not completely satisfied, since they crossed Checkpoint 2 as 30th.

From among the team's motorbikers Jaroslav Katrinak had a huge fall, suffered hand injuries (broke a finger). It is a pity, too, because he was the sensational 11th in the totals. Due to going above speed limit 2 days ago, and receiving his penalty, Akos Varga is 100th in the totals, though his partial results are encouraging. Unfortunately his injured hand hurts more intensively.

Balazs Szalay, Laszlo Bunkoczi (Opel Frontera, 42nd):
We were going well on this stage, just until 60 kilometers before the finish we fell into a huge ditch. The sun was just going down, it was shining into our faces, so we didn't see a thing. It couldn't have happened under other circumstances, I wouldn't have gone into that ditch as slow as I did, if I had seen it. To our bad luck we fell into the ditch, without any elan, and got stuck. We were digging for about an hour. It was a pity, since we only stopped at the preceding 440 kilometers once, due to a puncture for ten minutes.

Akos Varga (KTM, 47th):
It was an extremely stiff stage, packed with dunes and camel grass. I cannot decide which one was worse. It might have been the camel grass, because the bike kept bouncing on it and my hands got so strained. I could somehow hold out until the 200th kilometer, but I really suffered afterwards. At both fuel-stops I took a painkileer, but they only helped for a little while. I was lucky, however, since I made it to the finish before dark. I don't know how the ones who got stuck in there will come out.

Jaroslav Katrinak (KTM, 16th):
I was over the major part of the stage when at high speed (around 140 km/hrs) I lost balance at one of the bumps and fell off the bike. I could hardly get myself together to continue, but I had to, until the machine works I need to go, too. My first way led to the medical tent where they put strips on both of my hands and said it is a miracle I did not get them broken. Of course the KTM is not in the best condition either, there will be plenty of things to fix tonight.

Zsolt Darazsi, Norbert Szalai, Gyorgy Rack (MAN, 13th)
We have encountered trucks and cars stuck by the road. We almost got stuck too because at one point it was hard to by-pass stuck vehicles. We also had a bit of trouble when trying to climb up a dune but the truck did not obey. However we didn't break down, seeing a Kamaz having the same problem. We tried twice more and managed to by-pass it for the third try. It was a tough day for sure.

It is part of today's chronicle that at the 27th kilometer of the special the Sandor Kis - Peter Czegledi duo -- 25th until that point -- knocked up against the French Paul Belmondo. The accident happened at high speed, luckily, competitors did not get badly injured (Belmondo's co-driver broke one finger), but their cars got crushed so much that they could not continue the race.

-szalay-

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Series DAKAR