Loprais Tatra Team preview

We have passed scrutineering Racing truck as well as both assistance Tatras and press car Navara passed without issues remaining part of administrative and technical scrutineering. Ales's Loprais navigator Vojtech Stajf arrived at Buenos...

We have passed scrutineering

Racing truck as well as both assistance Tatras and press car Navara passed without issues remaining part of administrative and technical scrutineering.

Ales's Loprais navigator Vojtech Stajf arrived at Buenos Aires only a few minutes prior the deadline given to Loprais Tatra Team and starting number 502 by organizers. His original flight was canceled due to unutilized capacity. It was necessary then to organize another flight which was almost impossible task due to the timing. Vojta Stajf finally succeed as he was pushing very hard to manage it.

After 5 hours marathon spent between kiosks of organizers were Ales Loprais, Milan Holan and Vojtech Stajf leaving with all stamps which meant the only one thing: Tatra with starting number 502 will participate in the Rallye Dakar 2009. After arrival to the parc ferme Ales and his crew checked over competitors which are stronger than ever before. "I do not want to prefer anybody in advance," said Ales Loprais after scrutineering. "Of course there are favorites between famous names and brands, but the fight for the victory will be definitely very tough. Let us wait to see how will who succeed, but we are ready to push since the beginning."

Interview with Ales Loprais at www.dakar.com

Only hot title contenders have the privilege to express their impressions and feelings before the race in official interviews on www.dakar.com. Ales Loprais and Josef Machacek were the only Czechs to be asked.

Ales Loprais: "I dream there would be two Dakar rally raids per year!"

Nephew to legendary truck driver Karel Loprais -- six-times winner of the Dakar -- young Ales soon made a name for himself on the king of all rally raids. 3rd in the overalls for his second participation in 2007, he has arrived in Buenos Aires with truly legitimate ambitions to win.

What are you doing in these last days before the race?

There is so much to do! First, I have a lot of commitments with the media. There are very few Czechs in the race and I have a real chance at performing. So obviously, the media are interested in me. Moreover, I am also doing a lot of last minute checks... I don't want to miss even the smallest bolt or screw!

Is it hard to stay calm in these circumstances?

It is indeed, I am over the top; I just can't stop thinking about the Dakar! I just can't wait for the race to start. By the way my true dream would be to have two Dakar per year and for the raid to be held in different places around the world. That would be paradise!

Technically, what is the difference between your truck and the ones of your opponents?

We changed almost everything on our truck: the engine is more powerful; it has new suspensions and the transmission has been altered. Our truck is undoubtedly one of the punchiest; it is also a bit heavier than average but it remains very competitive. And Tatra must be thanked for it. We are not a manufacturer's team but we have excellent contacts with Tatra and it helps us a great deal.

It is your third Dakar and you can already pretend to the title after ranking third in the overalls in 2007. How can you explain this skyrocketing rise to the top?

It's most certainly inherited from my uncle Karel. This race has always been part of my live; I started going with him to Africa when I was only 14! All my life I dreamt of winning the Dakar.

-credit: loprais

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Series DAKAR