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Dakar 2007: Hungarian Szalay Opel-Team finished 73rd on Friday.

The Hungarian duo Balázs Szalay and László Bunkoczi with their Rally Opel Antara trio yesterday finished as 73rd. The boys were quite exhausted and dirty by the time they arrived, but luckily they did (!) to the Atar bivouoac in daylight. We've had troubles with the engine in the morning already, and again with the oil pressure. The car stopped twice on the way to the start of the special due to injection problems. The duo went right back to the Zouerat camp, servicemen worked on the trouble, and then set out.Everyone blamed the extremely soft dunes, among them Szalay, who got stuck in one of them.

"I misjudged one of the dunes, went to the bottom, but the car didn't make it back to the top. One of the reasons for this was that the engine was out of energy, and because I have never seen such soft sand in my life" said Szalay. The pilot and the navigator have been digging for two hours without any movement of the Antara, by the time the team's race truck arrived. "It wasn't easy for Zsolt Darázsi either to pull the car out, so by the end a little caravan was formed."

Balázs Szobi's truck pulled Darázsi's truck, which pulled Szalay's car out. Finally the race vehicle got saved from the trap and arrived at the bivouac in daylight. It was Darázsi's truck that pulled Palik's car out from a trap, too. Without them they wouldn't have made it out from among the dunes. They also thanked them in the finish.

It is Jaroslav Katrinak from the bikers supported by MOL who is the first among them. No wonder, the KTM pilot has been a stage-winner on the Dakar, too. On the way to Atar he took his speed back a bit, he didn't want to risk, but still at this pace he made it to be sensational 14th. " Because of the sand storm we've had a very tough day. I got really exhausted by the end." - said Katrinak. Emanuel Gyenes, the Romanian biker of MOL supportees is the youngest member of the team (22 years old), crossed the Atar finish as 88th, being really tired. This made him 57th int he totals.

Péter Kátai has never been biking in sand storm before, but this is what he thought it would be like. He had hardly seen anything in the storm, luckily he found a pilot who was well informed, and whom he could follow. He said that he had a feeling that if he gets lost here, he would never find the right direction. He got very much exhausted before the rest day, because due to the wind the previous night he hadn't slept much. Plus this stage was ahead of him. He, personally, was very happy that the end of the stage was cancelled, because it would have been simply dangerous to go on in such an awful visibility.

2007/01/13 | 14:23 CET | Editor: MR/

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