Oh, the legendary Africa Stoney, winding roads, needing plenty of navigation, led from Nador to Er Racidia on the first African day of Dakar Rallye. Quite a few of the big aces got lost,too, but not the Balazs Szalay - Laszlo Bunkoczi duo, who...
Oh, the legendary Africa
Stoney, winding roads, needing plenty of navigation, led from Nador to Er Racidia on the first African day of Dakar Rallye. Quite a few of the big aces got lost,too, but not the Balazs Szalay - Laszlo Bunkoczi duo, who finished the stage at 33rd position with the Opel Frontera. From among the motorbikers of the international MOL Team Jaroslav Katrinak, former enduro world champion, was the fastest (15th), while Akos Varga gained 55th and the Romanian Zsolt Szilveszter 84th position.
Balazs Szalay, Laszlo Bunkoczi (Opel Frontera, 33rd position)
"My right thumb got injured yesterday, when an enormous rock hit the bottom of the car, so it was quite uncertain that I could change gears normally, all through this long stage. Although my hand hurt, but there were no real big troubles with it, so we could drive at a pretty good pace. The stage required plenty of navigation, but Laci did an excellent job, so we did not lose our way.
The only problem was wthat the microphone gave in, which was nerve-wrecking on such a long stage. Laci had to shout, and when got tired of it just signed. We did not fluster, did not take risks, since Dakar just began."
Akos Varga (KTM, 55th)
"I have to admit that there were stages when I asked myself why I wanted to come back here. It was extremely cold in the morning, I almost froze off my bike, then my injured hand got a cramp as big as I could hardly hold the handlebar. I was trying to work my fingers in the meanwhile, but it was dangerous since I had to concentrate on so many things at the same time; navigation, velocity and speed limit."
Jaroslav Katrinak (Slovakian, KTM, 15th)
"Since it was the first African stage, I was trying to drive as careful as possible. Due to the lack of satellite navigation the road map was more detailed than usual, so it was hard to pay attention to everything. I even lost the machine which signs when going above the 150 km/hrs speed limit, therefore I had to keep looking at the digital screen as well, to watch my speed. This stage was extremely tough for motobikers because longer straights were broken up by deep ditches, and if one did not watch, could fall badly."
Zsolt Szilveszter (Romanian, KTM, 84th)
"Except for one fall, everything went alright, I couldn't have driven faster anyway. Unfortunately cars got in front of me while fueling up, and it was horroristic to drive behind them in the dust. However, it was not the reason why I fell. I simply fell into a ditch when not breaking on time in front of it. Luckily neither me nor the bike got damaged. Up to this point I really enjoy the Dakar!"