Scary hours, but firmly in the race
Team Honda Europe never lost faith in its front runner Quinn Cody on January 4, but blood pressures did rise when it appeared that no signal was received from his Iritrack equipment after CP1. The fast assistance car found its way to the end of the special stage near the bivouac for the day. Waiting time became anxious waiting time. Finally when it became clear that even the first motorcycle would be hours later than the organizers had expected, hope grew that Quinn would live up to his tough reputation. That is just what he did.
Early morning darkness
Friendly customs personnel from Argentina and Chile in the bivouac could not speed up the process greatly. The paperwork needed to be done, while it helped a lot that teams were allowed to send just one representative with all passports. For Team Honda Europe this was a challenge mostly because friendly forces Super-B buggy team came in
very, very late. Wake up calls were sounding for the first motorcycle riders when the last buggy appeared from the early morning darkness. The Dakar has started
The Dakar has really started today. A long day in kilometers including a nice but sometimes difficult special. The first riders arrived around 4 o'clock in the bivouac this afternoon, which proved this was a tough day.
Quinn Cody little short on Fuel capacity
Preparations are being made to allow Quinn Cody even greater range, because his driving style takes a toll on fuel consumption. He is using up to 30% more than other riders in the team. Justified this is by all means, for his 14th ranking with the elite riders requires more power. Several options are worked out simultaneously, ranging from adapting borrowed reservoirs to flying in new ones from The Netherlands and/or from the USA. Ultimately by the rest day but sooner if possible,
Quinn should have another gallon or so at his disposal, giving him just the extra safety margin for him to not sacrifice speed for economy. Alexey Naumov likes the Dakar better every day
Alexey Naumov missed a waypoint today in the first section, which should cost him a time penalty . ,,I went back to look for it, but wasn't able to find it. I like the Dakar better every day. Today in the sandy sections I felt comfortable, but I do need to adapt to the fast sections on gravel. To ride fast and navigate at the same time I need more experience. But I'm happy to be here, another day finished.'' Tough Dakar day for Mirjam Pol
Mirjam Pol had one of her real Dakardays. She's still struggling to find her rhythm. ''The time we get from the organization to do the road sections is very tight. When I arrived at the start of the first section, there was hardly any time left to prepare myself. In the first section we had to pass a lot of riverbeds, sandy with rocks and tricky. My front wheel hit a rock and there I went. An hour later still in this difficult section I found out I missed a waypoint. So I had to return back to pick it up, which cost me another 25 minutes. In the neutralized section we really had to race to get there in time. I had 3 minutes left before the start of the second part. Ten kilometers in the special I crashed trying to get out of the way for a car, and from that moment the quads and cars went passed me which was terrible. I understand a lot of people missed the waypoint, so maybe things are not as bad as they look now.'' Vadim Pritulyak: in the Dakar nothing is for free
Vadim Pritulyak already said it the first day in the luxurious
bivouac: in the Dakar nothing is for free. 25 kilometers before the finish he crashed hard with his bike. In the neutralized section the cars were fast, and they arrived too early at the start of the second section. The organization let them continue, which meant they were earlier between the bikes than scheduled. In a narrow part with a lot of fesh fesh (powder dust) I touched the front brake just lightly, but crashed right away. It just shows you have to be careful all the time.... The doctors checked me, but I'm fine. My wrist is sore, but it's like that. The fight has started.'' Preview January 5th: Jujuy -- Caman Road
The Dakar leaves Argentina provisionally to cross the Andes mountain range via the Paso de Jama pass. To reach this point, the climb will start during the night. Once they have crossed the border, the crews will ascend to an altitude of 4,800 metres, i.e. the same height as Mont-Blanc, without crampons or ice-picks! In sporting terms, the arrival in Chile also heralds the entrance to the Atacama Desert and the first off-track racing of the rally. The start of the relatively short special stage will take place at 3,300 metres. At this point, the vehicles will have to handle stony terrain as the dunes approach.