Dakar: Szalay Dakar Team stage 11 report

Short rest before the last 4 days Wednesday was in fact the second rest day for competitors, because there was no measured stage. Due to the terror threat only the 280 km connection stage was included in the modified program. There was no need...

Short rest before the last 4 days

Wednesday was in fact the second rest day for competitors, because there was no measured stage. Due to the terror threat only the 280 km connection stage was included in the modified program.

There was no need to wake up at six, the first service teams left the Nema bivouac at 9, not to mention competitors, who left even later. For example Balázs Szalay and László Bunkoczi left at 13:22.

The head of the team had time for evaluation.

"I am satisfied, because the whole team is still in competition ; the truck, the car and the bikers supported by MOL as well (sons of three different countries). I am especially proud of Jaroslav Katrinak, because he has a great chance for finishing in the top ten. It would be an awesome rank out of the 245 entrants who set out in Lisbon. The rest of them are doing a great job as well, I think it was a great selection concerning the team members of the regional MOL Dakar Team."

Szalay also told us, that Katrinak's results are a motivation to the rest of the bikers, too, since he is now considered a model to follow. He has won a stage in Dakar a few years ago, and he really is like a machine, not a sign of exhaustion is shown on him, even after the 12th day.

Péter Kátai keeps himself to his vow, too, he will not take unnecessary risks. His rank is 24th, the best total result among Hungarian competitors. Emanuel Gyenes is the newcomer in the team, he has never taken part in any greater desert competitions, but we can proudly say that he is doing very well, fitted into the team, the field and circumstances. He is 54th in totals, therefore he belongs - with this result - to the first third of the field.

"I'm especially happy for the Opel Antara to still be in competition - continued Balázs Szalay - and for the fact that although we had no time for real testing before the Dakar, it handles desert circumstances very well. We had no real technical troubles with it yet. We only lost two longer time periods, which is not so decisive in such a long challenge as the Dakar." Szalay added that, however, the team is greater in number than ever, still, works as a well-oiled machinery, because all of them know their task. Even the off-road manager of General Motors took a visit at the team and talked a lot with Szalay. He praised the team for having built a competitive race car and for the work done. They also agreed to work together on improvements of the Antara's engine.

"The team's race truck is doing good in total, with the leadership of Zsolt Darázsi. They haven't been in such a good position, ever, four days before the finish (ranked 17th). Even the MAN takes obstacles better than in the past few years." - added the head of the team.

By the way, the team really had a reason to celebrate on Tuesday. One of the servicemen's wife - Miklós Kovács's - gave birth to a beautiful little boy...

-credit: szalay

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Laszlo Bunkoczi , Jaroslav Katrinak , Balazs Szalay