Stage 4 of the Dakar Rally, between Neom and Al Ula, was once again a successful one for Ultimate Dakar’s Tomas Ourednicek and David Kripal. The Czech crew completed the 453 km special with the 25th time with their Ford Ranger Dakar and climbed up to 29th position overall.
“We changed the gearbox during the night because the fourth gear wasn’t working properly. The mechanics woke me up at 4 am to test it. I just drove out of the bivouac when I heard some noise from the gearbox, that was really disappointing. We had no time to change it again and we left the bivouac thinking we might not reach even the start of the special - but eventually everything turned out to be alright. We started in a very nice company, with the top guns, we enjoyed that a lot. But the organiser decided the top trucks to leave after the 20th car so we started right between them. This was a disaster as there was so thick dust, that when after 2-3 kilometres we reached the MAZ starting in front of us, we had to slow down and eventually stop to wait for the clear view. Because of this, some other trucks also passed us.
The stage was absolutely not nice for the cars because of the huge and sharp stones and rocks and the shortcuts the trucks made. Especially the last part was a nightmare. It was really dangerous for the cars. It’s a miracle that our car was able to get through, I’d never imagined that such terrain could be driven with it. That part was only to destroy the vehicles, I don’t know what was the point in it, and it was extremely long. But we arrived at the finish safely and what is best, we didn’t have any punctures. Many competitors, including such experienced drivers as Nani Roma, ran out of spares today.
David did a perfect job again, we had no navigation mistake at all. The time is not as good as yesterday’s but it was simply impossible to go any faster behind the trucks. For tomorrow we expect a lot of sand and also dunes, so starting behind the trucks will not be such a big problem. At the moment, we are working hard on the car and hope to be able to continue in good shape tomorrow,” Tomas said after arriving in the bivouac in Al Ula.
“I’m happy about our result today, especially since the huge stones gave troubles to many competitors. It was like a trial track, between rocks, and navigation was also quite complicated, especially due to the tracks of the trucks starting in front of us. I really had to focus. We are happy to have arrived in one piece, many competitors are going to have a long day. Tomorrow we’ll have a sandy stage with some dunes, I hope it will be better for us than the stony tracks,” David added.
Tomorrow the caravan of the 42nd Dakar Rally will go from Al Ula to Ha’il. Out of the 563 km long stage, 353 km will be against the clock.
Source: Ultimate Dakar press release