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Macháček is second after first stage, Casale and Šoltys in TOP 10

Macháček is second after first stage, Casale and Šoltys in TOP 10

Datum: 6.1. 2021

After Saturday’s Prologue, the real Dakar has finally begun. Josef Macháček did well, as he finished 2nd in the Lightweight Prototypes category. Ignacio Casale handled his truck debut just as well, taking 6th place in the standings.

After a 200-kilometre liaison drive, competitors finally started the first 277-kilometre-long stage. Josef Macháček handled the rocky section without any problems and took 2nd place in his category. “We were slightly in a rush in the morning, as we had to deal with a cuff issue at the crossroad. Then, there was a problem with refuelling, so we were a bit late to start. However, it played no role in our overall time. Most of the stage went through rocks and dust. But I’m glad that we’ve made it among the TOP drivers, as that improves our position for tomorrow. I don’t have much time to check the results, but we’re doing great,” said Macháček, who is currently in 10th place in the overall standings.

On the contrary, Tomáš Enge had a very difficult day, after losing more than 5 hours dealing with technical issues. "So, I've finally fully enjoyed it. But everybody was warning me about it. Dakar is a long and unpredictable competition. We still don't know what exactly the issue is. But we had only a rear-wheel-drive from the start, which probably caused the rear half-axes to overheat and they both snapped. Then, with 30 kilometres to go, we had to fix it enough to make it at least here. We've lost a lot of time, but we continue. It's going to make it even more fun," said Tomáš Enge in the bivouac.

And the first stage went also well for the Tatra Buggyra Racing driver. The three-time Dakar quad bike winner, Ignacio Casale, used all of his experience to shock everyone with a 6th place finish. “I never even imagined that we could be in the TOP 10 against such strong competition, and today, it’s 6th place. At the beginning, we didn’t push much, as we were trying to save the tyres and it was a good call. We got ahead of many crews that had to change the tyres. It all went well, and I can’t wait for tomorrow when we get to dunes,” said Casale.

Also, Martin Šoltys was doing exceptionally well, even though his efforts were slightly halted by a puncture.“The first 170 kilometres went well, but then we had a puncture on a rear tyre, and we had to change it. After that, we had to do the last 70 kilometres with only five cylinders, it was probably injection. I slowed down a bit, but there’s still plenty of time to make up for it,” said Šoltys, who finished in 9th place.

The second stage of the Dakar Rally goes from Bisha to Wadi Ad-Dawasir. From the start, the drivers will face a 30-kilometre-long section of dunes. In total, the stage is 457-kilometre-long.