The racers of the Dakar started the 12th stage after a night spent in the marathon bivouac. Pilot Martin Macik, navigator Frantisek Tomasek and mechanic David Svanda from the MM Technology team finished the stage in a valuable 4th place and hold 3rd position in the overall standings. For today’s ride through the ominous dunes of the Empty Quarter, they repaired Cenda themselves. But they managed to overcome all the pitfalls of the track, were not afraid of steep descents, avoided treacherous funnels and were able to deal with the technical problems that hindered them along the way. Mates was not afraid to send Cenda to the heights that Frantisek showed him, and David brilliantly filled the role of the only technically gifted member of the crew in the marathon stage.

We were climbing hills like crazy

In the morning, the racers of the MM Technology team got into the truck, which they repaired themselves in the evening, and set out for the giant dunes of the second part of the marathon stage. Even in Friday’s 12th special stage, the crews had to climb huge hills that you need to have a bit of courage to climb. Even more so when you throw yourself into them knowing that this time you repaired Cenda yourself. But it worked. “Another wonderful stage. Big, heavy, rugged dunes. Sometimes we all encouraged Cenda in the cabin to climb that hill. Trucks are heavy and we are climbing some crazy-high dunes here. You look for optimal routes, you fall like when riding down a water slide. It was challenging, but we wanted Dakar to be like this, we are satisfied. Anyone who completes this rally is a fighter and has our respect,” described Martin Macik.

The crew admits that they set a slower pace at the start. “Because here you never know what will happen to you. We overtook Martin van den Brink on the track, but then continued to do our own thing. All the way in the beautiful big dunes. And today, one of them was so brutal that I went for full throttle in almost sixth gear, we were flying over 100 kph, I let Cenda go up, and we only crawled to the top at the speed of around 20 kph. But we managed to climb the hill on the first try. The others stopped there, but we drove on,” explains Macik.

Arms tangled from driving

Even 185 racing kilometers did not go completely without complications today. “During the ride we were dealing with the electronics, we had a problem with one sensor and had to stop, losing time. But that can happen in such extreme conditions,” says on-board mechanic David Svanda.

In the end, the crew from Sedlcany and the orange truck arrived at the finish line of the stage satisfied. “Mates was turning the steering wheel today so fast and so often that it’s a wonder his arms aren’t tangled. He’s doing great. We are at the finish line. We will still fight. We have the last two stages ahead of us. We are doing great in the cabin. We are at ease here with the boys, and that is also important,” added Frantisek Tomasek.

The mechanics are already looking forward to Cenda

Today the racers returned to Saybah, where their teams and assistance vehicles are waiting for them in the bivouac without a mobile phone signal. The well-rested mechanics of the MM Technology are going to throw themselves at Cenda, a truck that they made themselves in Sedlcany according to the design of Martin Macik Sr., the head of the MM Technology team. After a tough marathon part of the rally, they have to re-check everything and fine-tune the truck for the crew, so they take it to the final two stages of Dakar 2023.