The Ha’il region lived up to its reputation and offered many surprises to the competitors in the 8th stage of this year’s Dakar. Nevertheless, the MM Technology crew of Martin Macik Jr., Frantisek Tomasek and David Svanda managed to finish the stage in 2nd place, less than two minutes behind the winner. The orange trio still holds the 1st position in the overall standings.

Not even rocks could stop Cenda

The racing special from MM Technology has already encountered the Ha’il terrain last year when it made its Dakar debut. This year, fortunately, no treacherous rivers awaited it on the route, but the truck could not avoid rocks and stones. “Cenda held us up today, even though we flew through the air with it a couple of times and it picked up a few scratches from the stage. Nothing that we had to stop for, so for me it was a good stage again, as far as the technical aspect is concerned”, praises David Svanda.

Nothing comes for free

On the route, which alternated between all types of terrain that can be seen in Saudi Arabia, the organizers did not give the crews anything for free even in terms of navigation. Sand, dirt roads, rocks, flatlands, and eventually sand dunes, it’s almost a navigational bingo. “We really didn’t get it for free today. The terrain was rocky and hard for a while, then soft and sandy after that, so it was dusty. In the dunes, not everything can be done on the first try, so we were delayed a bit once, but we got all the waypoints”, summarizes today’s impressions navigator Frantisek Tomasek.

Second place with minimal loss

The orange crew finished the stage in 2nd place, one minute and eighteen seconds behind the winner. This means that with four stages to go in this year’s Dakar, they still hold the top spot in the overall standings. “Stage eight was great. In the first part we were holding on to the other trucks until it got a bit ragged after the transfer. It was a really long one today, but at least you can save your energy. I have more and more confidence in Cenda, so we kept flying even over the lava rocks in the last kilometres. The loss to the 1st is minimal, so I’m satisfied”, says pilot Martin Macik Jr.

Full circle

Tomorrow, the Dakar participants will head back to Alula, where they completed the first stages of this year’s race. The terrain will be partly familiar, but anything can happen. Cenda, Martin Macik Jr, Frantisek Tomasek and David Svanda are ready to keep up the pace for the entire 417km, during which they will surely be fueled by the signatures of the fans they carry with them on Cenda’s sides.