In the Saturday stage of the Dakar, pilot Martin Macik, navigator Frantisek Tomasek and mechanic David Svanda from the MM Technology team won the 13th special stage after a great performance and moved to 2nd place overall in the truck category. The Cenda special rally truck from Sedlcany perfectly managed to drive 150 km of endless dunes and in the end left all rivals behind. The crew of the MM Technology team already has four stage victories on their account this year, as well as a win in the prologue. Tomorrow, the Dakar riders will have their last ride to the finish line in Dammam.
You fly up and down for 150 km
Overnight, after the return of the crew from the marathon stage, the mechanics of the MM Technology team again worked patiently and carefully on the team truck called Cenda. And it paid off, because a well-functioning machinery was essential for handling the next batch of challenging dunes that the organizers of the Dakar prepared for the competitors on Saturday. Fortunately, Sedlcany riders like sand. They trained in the past days and managed today’s ride perfectly. “We are at the finish line. And it was pretty rough again. It wasn’t without easy, but we tried to go our own way. It was the longest dune field, 150 km of sand only. A really challenging ride from the very beginning. I think it was mainly about keeping the momentum going. To keep it together mentally. We went up, down, up, down, on and on. It took an awfully long time. We drove 150 km in 3 hours. Only the last part was faster, first on sand and then on gravel,” described Martin Macik.
Battles right to the finish line
Even today, the race was exciting and there were interesting battles on the track. “An interesting stage. In addition to everything, we could not see very well because of the strange light. We passed van den Brink; we chased Janus van Kasteren. We overtook him while he was hanging on the dune. But at the end, we were looking for one waypoint for a while, so Janus caught up with us. And then we had a good fight at the finish line,” describes navigator Frantisek Tomasek. The members of the crew from Sedlcany put their heads together in the dunes and together chose the best route so that the Cenda truck would be able to pass it without complications. “Today the last thing you want you is to back off the dune and start again. This would waste a lot of valuable time. It’s really a matter of minutes here,” says Martin Macik.
Cenda was holding strong
In the end everything worked out. The Sedlcany competitors were lucky today, and the team truck also completed the penultimate stage in perfect condition. “Cenda is completely fine today. Something was making noise in our cabin. But apparently someone just left some tools there yesterday. Otherwise, I didn’t find anything wrong with the truck after the ride,” reported on-board mechanic David Svanda. The tired crew set out for the long liaison to the bivouac immediately after completing the stage. “Now we have over 500 km to cross, we will pull out pillows, talk, look out the window at nature and Martin will take us to the bivouac,” Frantisek Tomasek was looking forward to the journey.
Commitment until the last kilometer
On Sunday, the last stage awaits the Dakar caravan with the destination in Dammam. It will be 136 racing kilometers long, but it will certainly not be easy. “Dakar only ends with the last stage, the last kilometer. We will also try to fight tomorrow and manage the ride as well as possible,” concludes Macik.