Dakar: Szalay stage 14 report

Varga finished as 8th, Szalay got his helmet stolen After the two week marathon speeding (taking almost 9000 kilometers) the Dakar Rally field finally arrived to Senegal. Competitiors are sleeping in beds on Saturday, after having slept in tents...

Varga finished as 8th, Szalay got his helmet stolen

After the two week marathon speeding (taking almost 9000 kilometers) the Dakar Rally field finally arrived to Senegal. Competitiors are sleeping in beds on Saturday, after having slept in tents for several days. Instead of bathing from buckets they may take warm showers, finally.

The one before last day however held surprises as well, which were pretty beneficial for the Szalay Dakar Team. Since many pilots from the lead lost their way, the biker Ákos Varga made it to the top ten (finished as 8th), which is quite an achievement. The Balázs Szalay - László Bunkoczi duo completed the Tambacounda - Dakar stage at 26th, taking them to 28th overall. For the Zsolt Darázsi - Norbert Szalai - György Rack trio the day was a game of patience,because the box of the truck is not attached anymore in any way, so they had to watch not to lose it on the way.

Varga Ákos (KTM, 8th, 60th overall)
I'm exhausted and hungry as a wolf, so I haven't yet realized that I finished as 8th. At kilometer 160 there were two signs of the same kind after one-another in the route-book, that is what the rest of them probably misinterpreted. I've seen the traces going to the right, however I noticed in the roadbook that it is not the way to go. I went as I thought I should, and I was proven right when I noticed the pilots from the lead coming from the back. This gave me extra power. To my luck I took a painkiller at check-point 1, this way my injured hand did not hurt as much, then I pulled the accelerator as I could. There were quite a few people asking for autographs and pictures taken with them. Perhaps it did feel awesome, but it would be even better to be home finally.

Balázs Szalay, László Bunkoczi (Opel Frontera, 26th, 28th overall)
Luckily the Opel handles challanges quite well, because I have to admit that I have lost my temper a few times today. At the first few kilometers we could only overtake cars which was relatively easy, since they moved slower.

However, with the Kamaz there was nothing to do. I gave myself hundred kilometers to get in front of it, but at one of my tries we broke a tree into half and almost fell into a ditch, so I soon gave up trying. I went just as close to it as it wouldn't get all the dust in my face and I followed it faithfully. The only bothersome situatuion in fact was not only this one. Before start someone stole my helmet from the car. We had three minutes before start when I noticed I have nothing to put on my head. Laci stopped a service truck then and begged one of their helmets off, this way we could set off again. Fortune in misfortune; today I had no time to put my wallet into my helmet, otherwise I kept it there. I'm glad to be here in Dakar, it wasn't easy to make it here.

Zsolt Darázsi, Norbert Szalai, György Rack (MAN, 32.th, 16th overall)
I was as careful as I could be, I didn't want to take any risks losing the back of the truck. Enjoyment value of the stage this way was simply zero.

-szalay-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Laszlo Bunkoczi , Balazs Szalay