On Sunday, after a day off, the Dakar set off into the seventh, marathon stage. The crew of the Big Shock! Racing team managed to defend the 5th overall place, after being the 10th fastest at the finish of the stage. A lot was going on from the very beginning. After about 500 meters from the start, the team has to act quickly and repair a bent steering linkage after one of the jumps and braking sharply. After a speedy repair, Martin Macik, Frantisek Tomasek and David Svanda embarked on a chase and, despite their determination to drive more calmly in the marathon stage, rushed to the finish line. Their journey to the 5th overall position was a joy to watch. They managed to gradually move from the 23rd stage place after the repair to the 10th position at the finish. It will now be important how the team can take care of Charles, their racing truck, in the evening. Team mechanics are not allowed to help the crews today – they are waiting for them in the next bivouac in Neom.

I don’t like steering linkage!

Already half a kilometre in the stage, which in total comprises of 453 race kilometres, the crew of the Big Shock! Racing team had to unexpectedly stop and get out of the truck to replace the steering linkage, the rod connecting the wheels and the steering. The team from Sedlcany have already practised this in the fifth stage. The repair took about 25 minutes this time and they drove on. “It’s a sandy stage. Half a kilometre in, I slammed on the brake during one jump and the car suddenly went to the right. The steering linkage was bent. In about 25 minutes we had the repair done and could continue. We set the pace, caught up and rushed to the finish. We were covered in dust from the passenger cars, but we managed to gradually overtake them. But of course, we’re sorry about the bent steering linkage, every minute counts now,” Martin Macik said at the finish. The crew tried to catch up on the lost time for the rest of the stage. The yellow special Charles had to therefore drive on the edge of its limits. Picking up speed, he began to move through the order and catch up on the minutes lost. It crossed the finish line in the 10th place and thus maintained the team a great 5th overall position.

A tough night in a marathon bivouac

After today’s marathon stage with the finish in Sakaka, Macik, Tomasek, and Svanda will not go rest in their favourite camper truck but will spend the night with other teams, without their accompanying vehicles and crew. But before they get into their sleeping bags, they have one important thing to do – they need to take care of their truck, Charles. They have to do the full Sunday maintenance themselves. The mechanics and other members of the team, meanwhile, moved to the next bivouac in Neom. The main technical strategist of the evening is, therefore, David Svanda. “I hope there won’t be much work necessary. We will definitely check the whole truck – the brakes, tires, and the steering linkage, to make sure everything is in place and in working order so that we can continue with the second half of the marathon tomorrow,“ the flight mechanic of the Big Shock! Racing team reported.