Stage 9, a loop stage around Belen, Argentina, was the second one in the dunes. The originally 285 km long special was shortened to 174 km due to the extreme heat but even this didn’t make the day much easier. This can also be confirmed by the crew of Buggyra Ultimate Dakar but, unlike many of their rivals, Tomas Ourednicek and Pavel Vaculik were able to finish the timed section. About their result we have no information yet.
“It was so horrible… We saw many people crying. In our Hummer the fuel got too hot, making the engine stop every 400 metres. Our drinking water also got hot, so we’d like to say thank you to the fans who gave us cold water during the day, it was literally life saver. After struggling a lot, at a point we decided to quit the rally, but when we talked to the team manager of Buggyra, he informed us about the special being shortened. We were 80 kilometres from the new finish, so we changed our mind and went on. In the end, we reached the finish line, but we consumed our last reserves both physically and mentally. At the moment I can’t tell if we can continue tomorrow” an exhausted Tomas Ourednicek described the day.
As for the truck crews of Tatra Buggyra Racing, Jaroslav Valtr finished the stage with three punctures, but still clocked the eighth time in the special and entered the top 10 in the overall classification. Unfortunately, Martin Kolomy’s Fat Boy is still struggling with the consequences of his previous accidents, not allowing former stage winner Kolomy to show his real speed. Overall the crew is sitting in 22nd position.
Wednesday’s Stage 10 will feature the dreaded dunes of Fiambala, making this 278 km special maybe the most difficult of the 2016 Dakar Rally.