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This is the single-news section of the news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Dakar 2007: Magical remake of the Opel Antara on the rest day.

We are over about half of the Dakar Rally, but -according to Friday data - 125 entrants out of the 510 are already out of competition, which is a lot (68 bikes, 42 cars and 15 trucks). Competition hasn't been easy until now, and it would be quite naive to believe that it will get better on the remaining 8 stages. Competitors say that there are 3 especially tough stages awaiting the teams, not to mention that these 3 are right after each other. Cars for example will have marathon stages on Sunday and Monday, meaning that service units are not allowed to Tichit. No wonder that the service unit took the Balázs Szalay - László Bunkoczi duo's Opel Antara apart to the very last piece on the rest day. They were trying to prevent any trouble concerning the car.

"Nothing really needed to be repaired on the car, but since it is half time, we have replaced several parts - said Balázs Szalay, who knows what he's talking about, this being his 9th Dakar. - It is the front and back differential, the gear shift, separator, and steering mechanics that get replaced in the Antara. Guys are transforming it in order for us to have the least trouble with it. In the afternoon Robby Gordon's engineer will come over, the one who reprogrammed the computer that controls the engine in the first few days. Now he will further improve things. We are doing pretty well, we'll be finished by night."

Were the days left behind the easier ones? Or will it be the ones coming up? Szalay's answer to this was that there was a hell of a difficult ten-kilometer stage among the dunes on Friday. Almost everyone there ended up digging, even the pros. We need to be prepared, however, to everything, since the next three days in the Sahara will definitely be a challenge for the team.

Bikers, Péter Kátai and János Dési, were trying to do their best to keep their KTMs in the best race condition. Both of them were saying that since they reached the rest day, they will definitely try and reach the finish in Dakar. Their situation, however, is different from Szalay's in the sense that none of them have reached the podium at Lac Rose before. Kátai suffered an accident last year, while it is Dési's very first time on the Dakar.

2007/01/14 | 13:18 CET | Editor: MR/Szalay

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