Fans of powerful machines, vast terrain and adrenaline are in for a treat. Dakar 2023 started today with an opening prologue and the first Czech success. Pilot Martin Macik’s crew had a successful first run. The truck from Sedlcany named Cenda, navigated by Frantisek Tomasek and supported technically by mechanic David Svanda, was the fastest at the finish line of the prologue. Saturday’s success also means that Martin Macik will open the track for the truck class on Sunday. This is a situation that he has experienced several times already and knows that he has a great advantage and responsibility in his hands. New Year’s Eve will be peaceful and happy in the bivouac of the MM Technology team.

Task accomplished; convenient starting position secured

Martin Macik’s crew received starting number 501 for Dakar 2023 and the opportunity to enter the Saturday prologue track from 2nd place from the organizers. At the finish line, however, it was clear that his crew managed to improve their position even more, the Sedlcany special rally truck named Cenda was the fastest. “It was a good ride. We won. Amazing. Goal accomplished. But it’s just the beginning. Anyway, it was a rally. Right, left, straight. The corners have already been marked by others’ deep tracks. But we managed. We have trained enough in the Sedlcany basin. Tomorrow we will open the 1st stage, which will have a decent portion of kilometers. It will be a challenge. Mainly for Frantisek, my navigator. Tomorrow it will be advantageous to start among the first five trucks. The top 5 trucks will leave for the track after the first forty cars with about a minute long interval between the trucks. Then several dozen other cars will come, followed by the rest of the trucks. That’s also why we tried to finish today’s prologue as fast as possible,” said Martin Macik. Saturday’s prologue was only 13 kilometers long, full of sharp turns, winding through the desert terrain that surrounds the seaside bivouac. Even though Martin Macik made a couple of small mistakes during the ride, in the end the bet on speed paid off. “Cenda drove on razor’s edge. The truck was prepared flawlessly, a big thank you to the mechanics,” said Macik.

When you start first in your category at the Dakar

On Sunday, Martin Macík’s Cenda will be the first truck on the track. Opening a track has its advantages, which usually outbalance the disadvantages. But of course, there are a few details that play against the crew in the first starting position. “You start in the clear, you don’t have ruts on the track, usually nobody throws dust at you, you don’t pass other vehicles that often. But the navigator has a tough job. We can see where the motorbikes or cars went. But everyone is looking for their own way and you can’t completely trust the tracks. At the same time, some places can be passed by a motorcycle or a car, but they are treacherous for trucks. There can be a narrow passage, soft dunes, a salt patch that will sink, rocks. It helps if you’ve already experienced it a few times and know how to deal with such a situation,” explained Martin Macik.

It’s time to race

Today’s prologue started the Dakar 2023 route of over 8,500 km, of which approximately 4,700 will be racing ones. It will lead through extreme terrains. Competitors have 16 days to complete the challenging course. One of the toughest tests will be the marathon stage, when the crews will spend the night without their accompanying vehicles in the dunes of the Empty Quarter. The Dakar caravan will reach its destination on 15th January.