At Stage 2 of the Dakar Rally on Monday, Darren Skilton experienced fuel delivery issues in his Revolution VI buggy that pushed him to the back of the pack, yet Skilton and navigator Skyler Gambrell were still able to complete the stage under their own power. That evening Skilton’s crew made aerodynamic modifications to provide additional airflow to the fuel pumps in an effort to remedy the issues. In short, this was not successful. Just 40 kilometers before the beginning of the special stage, the General Grabbers on Skilton’s car stopped turning due to the same fuel problems. The team was able to coax the car to the start line without any time penalties, but that was just the start of the special stage!
While pushing hard to close the gap on the competition, Skilton slid into a sharp rock and damaged a tire, then later on the fuel issues surfaced yet again. “The pumps were actually not that hot,” Gambrell explained. “The fuel in the tank is cool, but with three separate fuel cells there is a collection point with a filter ahead of the pumps. We bypassed this system and did not experience any more fuel delivery problems after that.” Already starting in the back of the pack, once they stopped the team was caught in traffic with the huge T4 trucks, which quickly degraded the track conditions and visibility.
Skilton finished 118th for the day, completing the 208 km special stage in 4 hours and 52 minutes. “I am heartbroken that my teammate Mark McMillin was not able to continue the rally,” Skilton noted. “He has graciously offered his support to my race effort and that has been extremely helpful already.” The team now heads to Chilecito in the shadow of the Andes mountains, with elevations on Stage 5 topping 10,000 feet.