The third stage of this year’s Dakar, measuring 437 km, was equal in length and difficulty to the previous one. Even though the MM Technology team changed tyres several times, they finished in second place, less than 5 minutes behind the winner. The crew of Cenda is still third in the standings.

Rocky terrain likes to eat rubber

The first kilometres of the stage leading from Al Duwadimi to Al Salamiya were not easy for Martin Macik Jr., Frantisek Tomasek and David Svanda. The local landscape decided not to let off easy, and although Cenda handles most of the terrain with ease even at high speeds, they had to deal with a damaged tyre. “Cenda didn’t have it easy with the tyres today, the sharp rocks simply take their toll. But apart from that, it’s just scraped by branches and has a dented mudguard, so there’s nothing that we won’t be able to fix in the two hours we have today to service it after the marathon stage,” says mechanic David Svanda.

Flawless navigation helped to shave kilometers off

The biggest terrain feature of the third act of the Dakar rally were the high sand dunes, which posed a challenge for the crew of the orange special not only in terms of driving but also navigation. “We crossed most of the highest dunes with ease, we reversed a couple of times, but navigation-wise I’m happy with the whole stage today. I didn’t get lost, we hit all the waypoints, that’s how it should be”, says navigator Frantisek Tomasek.

The time loss is successfully shrinking

After a good portion of more than 400 km, Martin Macik Jr., Frantisek Tomasek and David Svanda finished the stage in second place. The MM Technology crew is third in the overall standings. The loss to second place is less than 4 minutes and they still have 14 minutes to go to take the lead. “The beginning was very painful for me, we changed a couple of tyres during the stage, but when the dunes came, I really started to enjoy it. The last few kilometres were the best, that’s when we rode on knife’s edge and shaved off what we could of the time. I am very happy with the second place, and I am very satisfied with the way Cenda is working.”,sums up his impressions pilot Martin Macik Jr.

Less kilometres, high difficulty

Tonight, Martin Macik Jr., Frantisek Tomasek and David Svanda will spend the night in improvised conditions separately from the mechanics and Cenda. Tomorrow, the riders will have to tackle a 299 km long timed stage on the route from Al Salamiya to Al Hofuf. But they cannot expect easier terrain, because the organisers have promised that the whole Dakar will be extremely challenging this year.