The 2022 Dakar Rally has started. The Czech Big Shock! Racing team had gone through the most thorough preparation in its history. For the first time, it had two truck crews at the start. Both experienced drivers know that the prologue does not win the Dakar, and so they completed the opening nineteen kilometres with both feet on the ground. Martin Macik, navigated by Frantisek Tomasek and watched over by the mechanic David Svanda, secured 8th place. Martin Soltys, supported in the cabin by navigator Roman Krejci and mechanic Jakub Jirinec, finished the prologue in 30th place. Just before the start of the Dakar, the team also announced its participation in the 2022 World Rally-Raid Championship.

Strategy? We’re here to race, and our goal is to succeed

The Big Shock! Racing team has done a lot to secure a successful Dakar this year. Two strong truck crews who support each other and want to improve their previous placings. Experienced drivers Martin Macik and Martin Soltys have well-tuned-and-tested racing trucks and are supported by a well-coordinated team of professional mechanics, which has grown considerably compared to previous years. “We had a good ride. Those nineteen kilometres were fast and in difficult terrain: dunes, where the choice of route mattered. We are not taking unnecessary risks, everything is still in front of us. The strategy is simple. We’re here to race, and our goal is to succeed. Last year we already proved that we have the experience and fast trucks that can withstand extreme conditions. Now we need to be level-headed, see how the competition is doing and gradually step up our game. The important thing is that Martin Soltys has our back. We are going to appreciate this, especially in the marathon stage,” Martin Macik, who took an excellent 4th place in last year’s Dakar, reported. Martin Soltys finished his last Dakar in 10th place and started this year’s in a new racing truck, Arnold. “I want to reach the finish line safe and sound. In the first stages, I will be getting used to the new truck. We only had a few rides before the Dakar. Anyway, this year, I’m going to be sensible. This is a long and hard race, and the track can bring a lot of surprises. There is certainly no need to take unnecessary risks at the beginning,”Martin Soltys said in the bivouac. Although Saturday’s prologue only had nineteen kilometres, the move to the start meant another 230 kilometres on the road. After completing the timed part, the drivers had to make the 585-kilometre-long crossing to the bivouac in Hail, where the ceremonial podium had been set up.

Big Shock! Racing will take part in the World Championship

Just before the start of the Dakar, Martin Macik also announced that he will be taking part in the World Rally-Raid Championship in 2022. “We’re excited, it’s another big step for us that will take us further. There will be three trucks built in Sedlcany in the championship. In addition to Dakar, we will also be competing in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, Rally Kazakhstan and Rallye du Maroc,” the driver, Martin Macik, announced.

Dakar New Year’s Eve – inspections and the last chance to get a good night’s sleep

All the trucks built in Sedlcany by Martin Macik, Sr.’s team passed the administrative and technical inspections on New Year’s Eve. The inspectors, making sure all rules are being followed, checked Martin Macik’s truck Charles, then the new Arnold, driven by Martin Soltys, and, finally, Nicias – a car built for Project 2030. Vincenzo, the Italtrans team’s truck, had already passed the inspections on Thursday without any problems. In the administrative part, it was necessary to provide documents of the trucks and drivers, and present medical certificates. The organizers also checked all the trucks’ technical parameters, navigation devices and safety equipment. They made sure that all the devices were installed correctly, then verified the functionality of the cables and the GPS, sealed the turbo, marked the team cameras… After the inspections were over, there were no flamboyant New Year celebrations in the bivouac. Most of the team members took the last chance for a good night’s sleep because it was more than clear that this year’s Dakar will be very challenging and might bring some sleepless nights right in the beginning stages.

Stage 1B, 333-kilometres-long, will take place on Sunday. Today’s and tomorrow’s results will determine the starting order for Stage 2. Fans will be following the Czech crews on their adventure until January 14, when the Dakar ends with the last stage in Jeddah.

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