The first half of the jubilee 40-th “Dakar” has become the most “lethal” for all ten years of the famous rally-marathon in South America. The last time such a huge number of accidents and retirements, including favorites in the fight for victory was in the days when the race passed through its traditional route in Africa.
Out of 337 crews, which had started before the rest day in La Paz got only 246: 110 of 139 among motorcyclists, 62 out of 92 in the category of SUVs, 41 of the 49 declared the quads, 10 of the 13 pilots in the class of ATVs and 23 of the 44 trucks.
Even mid-distance the 14-day competitions, it became clear that at least two acting categories the winners will not be able to defend his title.
In the motorcycle category, exactly like a year ago, the fourth stage became fatal for the leader of the factory KTM team. Only a year ago, it was Toby Price, this time fell to Sam Sunderland. Unlike his Aussie teammate, the Briton has avoided fractures, but the back injury did not allow him to continue to participate. Although the beginning was promising two wins on the special stages and the lead in the overall standings.
The main drama for the Russian fans occurred in the category of ATVs. Unfortunately, the fifth and last stage in the Peruvian dunes ended “Dakar-2018” to Sergey Karjakin. Rider from Ekaterinburg confident and calm, right in the style of Stefan Peterhansel started the rally-marathon, rode at my own pace and not chased at breakneck speed behind the Chilean Ignacio Casale, twice became the second and after the victory in the fourth stage. The situation was under control, and the main battle for the Golden Bedouin between Karjakin and Casale would be turned only in the second part of the race. But the error in the dune at the 44th kilometer of the fifth stage crossed all.
Sergey Karjakin: in such a strong impact is still easily treated
“I’m not in a hurry, but made a mistake. Never saw dune. She is on the right and left visible, as smooth, and just where I was sitting, there was a sharp descent and then a sharp rise. And it so happened that somewhere at the speed of 50 km/h, I crashed into the opposite dune,” – said Sergey.
For Karjakin this gathering was the second in five years of performances at the “Dakar”. In 2015 he dropped out of the race due to technical problems.
Even careful nothing is guaranteed hard the Peruvian route of “Dakar-2018”. Not helped such tactics nor Sergey Karjakin, or even the classic rally legend Sebastien Loeb. The Alsatian lacked confidence in the dunes, despite the third start in the rally-marathon, and he himself admitted that he was forced to go as carefully as possible. In the fourth stage, this approach even brought him the victory. Stayed only one day in the dunes, then the route started speed Bolivian roads, more suitable Lebu. But to get to them Loeb failed – a bad fall with the dunes on the fifth stage resulted in the injury of his co-driver Daniel Elena and the crew was forced to withdraw from the race.
What consequences could result from ignoring the instructions of the Navigator on the example showed racer X-Raid Mini Bryce Menzies. On straight two kilometres after the start of the American co-driver Peter Mortensen warned that ahead of a big bump. But Menzies decided that the data in the transcript are exaggerated and the bump is not so serious.
“Bump ahead seemed insignificant, much less than what I was expecting to see” – he explained after in the Wake of several coups his buggy turned into a pile of metal, but the Navigator suffered a broken ankle.
In his last start for Peugeot Cyril despres had a good chance to first win in the category of SUVs and sixth after five triumphs on the bike. But the next day after winning the second stage and leadership in the overall standings, the Frenchman smashed the rear suspension 3008 Maxi, ran over to stone. Worst of all, this accident happened in fact, out of the blue. The plot was slow and not the most difficult in the route of the third day.
On the last meters of the race 295-km third stage with dreams of victory goodbye Joan Nani Roma. The Spaniard, who returned in X-Raid Mini this year, ran into a hole in the dune and rolled over several times. He managed to reach the finish line, but only in order to issue the gathering. Injuries of the head and neck has not allowed the two-time Dakar winner, to continue the fight.
The colors of the Russian tricolor on the “Dakar” this year, defended only two of the crew from Kaliningrad, which presented the father and son Sergey and Ivan Shatrova playing in the Toyota FJ Cruiser. Alas, for both riders Konturterm Racing rally-marathon ended prematurely. In the third stage, Sergey the result is a 360-degree revolution has damaged the roll cage and was not allowed to start the next special stage, and Ivan ran into the pit on the fourth day and then it turned out, got a compression fracture of the vertebra, which drove the remaining 140 miles.
Russian team “KAMAZ-Master” arrived at the bivouac in La Paz in full – all four trucks in service (knock on wood). But the crews of “Blue Armada” is not without problems overcame the treacherous Sands of Peru. On 69-m kilometre of the second stage is turned over Airat Mardeev, who lost in the result of two hours, and on the fifth day of competitions the same fate befell Eduard Nikolaev. Only the current winner is luckier – “KAMAZ” with number 500 has not received too much damage and after about 20 minutes thanks to the help of the crew of Martin Kolomý with Tatra was put on the wheel and continued driving. Most interesting is that Nikolaev won the stage and strengthened leadership in the General classification.
Three years ago, Yazeed al-Rajhi has become the main opening of the “Dakar”. Newbie from Saudi Arabia has won one special stage and throughout the first half of the rally-marathon fought for the podium. Let the technical problems did not allow him to reach, but he was definitely recognized as the best newcomer. However, on “Dakar-2018” a Saudi is in danger of becoming one of the major disappointments, given the ridiculous incidents with his participation. On the second day of the race he faced in the dunes almost head-on with partner X-Raid Mini with Boris Garafulic, and a few days later almost drowned his car in the Pacific ocean when approached too close to the shoreline and was hit by a large wave. It is amazing that he is still in service, although in the overall standings is only the 28th with a lag of 11 hours from the leader.
The start of the anniversary “Dakar” was so complex and unpredictable that a severe accident turned even the usual attempt to pull the car out of the sand. To help stuck in the dunes Roberto Recalde came one of the companions in the category of SUVs. Perhaps the role played by the inexperience of participants, but ended the tug is very bad for Paraguayan racer.
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