|SA-Dakar Rally: Ales Loprais keeps fighting for top positions at Dakar 2012.|
The Czech Ales Loprais has made significant achievements in the course of 2011. After a splendid performance at Dakar 2011, having won two consecutive stages, his team constructed a new racing machine. The bonneted Jamal model proved to be extremely competitive from the very beginning and Ales managed to win the Silk Way Rally in Russia in July, beating all Kamaz trucks on their home ground.
For Dakar 2012 in South America, his team managed to enter two trucks, renting the former T815 to a privateer, Tomas Vratny, in a crew called Bonver Dakar Team. Ales entered the race with a new navigator, Michal Ernst, an experienced co-pilot from the World Rally Championship.
Ales Loprais launched another truck battle already in Stage 1. In fact, the 2012 Dakar has been offering the most competitive, and the highest quality truck competition in its history. Five top-class Kamaz trucks, five very competitive trucks of Iveco de Rooy driven by very experienced drivers, four trucks fielded by the Veka MAN team, several competitors from the Czech Republic and others made the situation the way that some 25 trucks were aiming for TOP 10 positions.
In every stage, the battle is extremely close, stages are driven at maximum speed and effort, and the only tactic has been keeping the maximum strength in order not to fall off.
Loprais, doing his best to be one of the race's main protagonists, has however managed to achieve stable stage results and each one of them has pushed his crew up in the rankings. The margins are closer than any time before and it is apparent that the battle will come to its grand finale in the Atacama desert whose first stage around Copiapo is on the program on Day 6. From that point, everything is possible.
"I am pleased that we have kept the pace with the top and managed to finish stages without particular losses. We are pushing as hard as we can and we can't give up on the pace because it means an immediate loss of worthy positions. The biggest problem has been the shattered windscreen, which fell off on us in Stage 4" Ales Loprais said.
"We had to drive without it for 120 kilometers, which was particularly unpleasant. But we did not lose too much time and keep battling. Our rivals are going extremely fast and precisely, making no mistakes. We try to follow and climb the rankings gradually. Though we are pleased of our second place from Stage 2, it means nothing for the development of the race. Every stage begins a new story and every single mistake can determine a lot," Ales Loprais comments.
So, the race is on. From Stage 6, the decisive part of the 2012 Dakar will be going on. Competitors will spend all of their racing time until the Lima final podium in the desert.
2012/01/07 | 11:40 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/VINTR