The 5th stage of Dakar 2024 brought the first proper trip to the Empty Quarter among sand dunes of impressive proportions. Martin Macik Jr. and his crew set a pursuit pace that earned them this year’s first stage win. Having significantly reduced the gap from the previous stages, the MM Technology team is now fighting for second place in the overall standings.

Cenda is right at home in the dunes

Today’s 118 km ran only through the sand dunes of the Empty Quarter, which was a first for the riders this year. After today’s performance of the orange crew, we can say that Cenda was made for the dunes and combined with Frantisek Tomasek’s impeccable navigation and Martin Macik Jr.’s driving skills, the MM Technology team took their first stage win of the year. “Cenda literally flew over the dunes today. It was well worth it to prepare the truck properly yesterday, it is completely fine and it coped wonderfully with the high external temperatures. So it’s all good and fingers crossed we can keep it up”, praises Wednesday’s performance from the technical point of view the mechanic David Svanda.

Just don’t get stuck

The strictly sandy environment of the high dunes has its own specifics. It is not the most difficult terrain to navigate, but precise navigation is indispensable. “In the dunes, the most important thing is to guide the pilot so that he doesn’t get stuck somewhere and reverses as little as possible. This is what we managed to do in this stage and I believe that we will be able to navigate well in the next stages as well”, says navigator Frantisek Tomasek.

The winning drive helped to reduce the loss

In addition to the victorious campaign through the dunes, Martin Macik Jr., Frantisek Tomasek and David Svanda can also rejoice in the significant reduction of the time gap. This means that the orange trio is now fighting for second place in the overall standings. “I like stages like this. Blazing pace from start to finish, beautiful dunes over which Cenda sometimes flew through the air. We finished nearly in the dark, but it was worth it. I am very happy about the victory and it gives us energy for the next racing days”, says a satisfied Martin Macik Jr.

48 hours in the Empty Quarter

The upcoming stage will still take place in the Empty Quarter area, which means that the entire starting field will face dunes up to 250 m tall tomorrow. And the day after tomorrow as well, because it’s a special stage called the “48h Chrono”. It spans a total of 572 km and will be completed on Friday, with the riders choosing how many kilometres to cover on the first day and how many on the second.