|SA-Dakar: The diary of Croatian Mitsubishi-driver Drazen Curic on Stage 1.|
"It began pretty lousy since we caught participant number 411 after 4 km (he started before us 30 seconds). The dust was terrible and I could not pass him for 15 km. He ignored our sentinel signals and instead of driving 160-180 km/h, we have lingered at 120 km/h in his dust. Thank God that then came stage section where dust was not so dense so we managed to pass him.
Thereafter began a pursuit for crews that started before us. Luckily, all other participants respected my sentinel signal but all the same we lost some time at passing them. I have not known how many cars we caught since I stopped counting after number 15. It was frustrating and dangerous because due to this dust several times we found ourselves on the verge of crashing.
When we entered into the dust not seeing anything and the road turned for 90° we had struggled to stay on the track. Generally, this was how Stage 1 looked like; we have constantly been passing cars and ‘swallowing’ their dust. Then there was a shock because some 28 km before finish we entered into summer shower and the road transformed to slippery slime sump.
We have slowed down since we found ourselves in problems few time and almost crashed. So on the last section again we lost 3-4 min, but that does not matter whereas the goal was achieved, we were high ranked and next day we are going to start immediately after ‘the big guys’ and therefore would not be much of passing over other cars.
Our car functioned perfectly except, when due to the rain our wind shield blurred, so Albert had to take off his knee pad and cleared wind shield with it that I could see something. The saddest thing of all was that the battery in on-board camera failed and everything that had been taped was ‘gone into the wind’. If it hadn’t happened, now you could see what I am writing about. For Stage 2 Siki will fix the camera so you can expect an on-board video."
2011/01/04 | 12:21 CET | ARTICLE: MR/KONYA