The race is over for Ales Loprais after Stage 9.
After technical problems in Stage 9, the crew is forced to withdraw from the Dakar rally after reaching stunning podium placements all over the race so far.
Tatra No. 504 experienced its first technical troubles of the race in Stage 9, having started behind the duo of leading Kamaz trucks. Ales Loprais maintained a solid 3rd place as usual, ready to strike when needed. However, at km 77 the truck stopped with a broken turbocharger. The breakdown was not repairable on spot as the race truck is not carrying a spare charger in the special. Consequently, the truck lost 70 per cent of its power and with that limitation it was extremely hard to cross dune filed and sand mountains, on top of which the organisers placed numerous waypoints. The situation was growing tougher as reaching the dunes was increasingly compliucated. Some dunes had to be jumped and on one of them the crew broke a shock absorber. Finally it reached the finish of the special, some 2h48min behind the winner, Kabirov. The missed waypoints, however, resulted to exclusion from the race. The Tatra crew had drawn many sympathies even by competitors who jointly asked the jury for keeping Ales Loprais in the race but the jury made no compromise. The Kamaz trio is now leading the race as it aimed originally and the only serious contender and challenger of Kamaz is our of the race.
"I would like to express many thanks to all of our partners and supporters who pushed us to reach the aim we set at the beginning of the race. In fact, we succeeded and followed that aim until the critical moment. Unfortunately, the truck lost much of its power to cross the dunes we faught with but the risk and danger of getting stuck forever or of flipping the truck on tops of dunes was too high. Of course we must respect the decision of the jury. But the initiative of some of our competitors was truly remarkable," Ales Loprais said.
"Many thanks go also to my team," Ales continues," Milan Holan, my race mechanic and actually designer and constructor of our race truck, and Josef Kalina for sharing so much of his experience and great navigation. Three mechanics from the assistance truck, Radim Pustejovsky, Jaromir Halfar and Leo Loprais are to receive credit for their excellent maintenance work in the bivouacs."
So, after a marvelous ride and hard battle for top spots in the ranking, the race is over for Ales Loprais. Unfortunately, the problem came unexpectedly in the furthermost spot of the stage at dune fileds. on a hard surface, the stage could have been finished, slowly but surely.
"Although this year we got stopped by technical reasons, I am proud of what we achieved in the course of the race.The results so far gave us proof we were on the good track to our goal. It is sad now but ceratinly it is a new energy for the future." Ales concludes.
Many thanks to all who supported us throughout the race.
-source: lopria tatra team