After a free day in Riyadh, the Dakar is back in full swing. In the 7th stage, the MM Technology crew faced varied terrain on a 482 km long route. As the sun set, Martin Macik Jr., Frantisek Tomasek and David Svanda took another stage win and remain in 1st place in the overall standings.

Cenda took a beating

Today’s stage was one of this year’s longest with its total distance of 482 km without a liaison. However, it was not the kilometers covered that affected Cenda so much but the terrain through which the route led. The truck encountered bushes, rocky areas and sand dunes, so it arrived at the finish with a damaged tyre and a broken windscreen. “Cenda had to work extremely hard today, especially at the beginning. We drove over rocks and sand, flew through bushes, so I’m glad he held on until the end. Especially the tyres, I was a bit worried about that. We will replace the windshield and tyres, polish it and it will be as good as new,” summarizes the technical condition of the truck mechanic David Svanda.

The most navigationally demanding stage so far

The first kilometres in the area around Riyadh were dominated by challenging rocky terrain, where several crews were following each other closely. This made navigation difficult, as did the many detours that were not part of the planned route. “Considering how many of us were going together, we were driving fast, and I had to navigate quickly. There were a couple of navigational catches, so sometimes we took a little while to find a waypoint in the first half. The most important one, which we needed to get about 60 km before the finish line, we found with ease, so I am satisfied with today’s performance.”, says Frantisek Tomasek, describing the course of the stage from the navigator’s point of view.

Orange crew maintains lead

Although in the first half of the stage it looked like Cenda and its crew were not going exactly as planned, everything turned for the better in the last 100 kilometres. The MM Technology factory truck found its ideal pace and Martin Macik Jr., Frantisek Tomasek and David Svanda scored another stage win. “Honestly, I’m glad to have this stage behind us, seven though it was a nice one. But at first it didn’t suit me at all. It was a difficult terrain with a lot of turns, where you are driving with other trucks, then another 100 km in the dunes. We reached the finish line as the sun was setting, so it worked out just fine, and I’m glad that we kept the lead in the end, both in the stage and overall.”, says pilot Martin Macik Jr.

Will there be a repeat of last year’s hell?

Tomorrow’s stage will take the competitors from Al Duwadimi to the Ha’il area, where last year the crews experienced a true hell. They can expect rocky and sometimes mountainous terrain, mixed with plains, which can even include a river under certain conditions. On the 458 km long route, many pitfalls await not only Cenda and his crew.