G-Force Motorsport

Dakar 2013. Day two... Navigation.

Sunday, 06 January 2013 20:45

Just now the real Dakar starts! Intransigent and maybe even  ruthless. This and next day stages are likely  to become the keys to the alignment of forces. The second stage with 242 km of special is mostly dry and soft sand. These dunes yet last year got on racers’ nerves and stay abiding the character…

Cunning dunes at 75 km of special. Not a few crews had problems here. Locals call this place “The Graveyard of Whales” thanks to the dunes shape. And perhaps there’s a bit of truth in the name: some Dakar’s “whales” lost a lot of time there. For example Carlos Sainz and Nasser Al-Attiyah among them. All the night long Red Bull Qatar team mechanics practised witchcraft with their buggies (as Russian colleagues reported from the bivouac, the guys strengthened the suspensions). Sainz’s complaints for the lack of tests before the race were worth listening to: now they have to finish works right on the go. But while the suspension problem could be managed easily, welding  can’t help with fixing the engine overheat and every stop amidst the dunes  automatically brings the coolant temperature rising. Further up the chain the overheating brings problems with… There might be a list of problems.   Oh, would not these dunes become “the buggies’s graveyard”, would not they catalyze more technical issues! Nasser Al-Attiyah lost about 13.5 minutes there,  потерял здесь около 13,5 минут, Carlos Sainz  lost almost 20 minutes, but both the Spaniard and the Qatar lamented the GPS navigation  problems that forced them to return back to the waypoint  - they both said GPS did not work properly.

Robby Gordon also lost a lot of time at this unblessed 75th kilometer but then rushed to attack. Yet last year somewhere around here he made Peterhansel shrug  saying: “When they have no problem – they go faster than we do”. Now Gordon again demonstrates the benefits of lightweight buggy with long-travel suspension and comes 13 to the SS finish line.

It seems that as far as finish line is closer the Red Bull buggies go faster regaining positions one by one. However why do we get stuck on them? Stephane Peterhansel is ahead and his advantage grows from point to point to reach at finish up to 2.5 minutes.

Stephane Peterhansel (driver #302): We had a good stage, mainly thanks to navigation. We're fast, and we've got the potential to go even faster, but it was mostly Jean-Paul's navigation which saved the day, nothing else.

Vladimir Vasilyev who started 24th the day showed the excellent result. was up to an amazing 6th place at a midway checkpoint and just at finish line got down the table to the 12th position between Carlos Sainz and Robby Gordon.

Vladimir Vasilyev (driver #331): It was a good track today, very similar to the Pharaons Rally Egypt with rocks and sand and actually we didn’t find the dunes to be too complicated. Unfortunately we got a puncture 40km before the finish but tomorrow we will do the same, just to go at our own pace as planned.

Boris Gadasin was the picture of consistency with his 15th place, as that is the same place he started from.

Boris Gadasin (driver #348): Today’s special really reminded much of the Egypt, it was quite comfortable and we came even faster than planned. One point of the track was not catched, we were looking for it long and could find it only with organizers’ prompt. All the rest is quite normal. We accounted for positions 15-20 and now can get even 12-14.  Tomorrow we probably will correct the tempo a little to the benefit of reliability.


Unfortunately there was not a good end of the day for Andrey Cherednikov and Albert Horn, the third crew of the team.

Albert Horn (co-driver #406): Oh yes, we had a lot of fun today, and brought fun to everyone! As it was expected we were placed at the tail end in the starting list so we were overtaking many crews, driving in a thick dust. We had to do a lot of extra work. And suddenly at 30 km the clutch started to stick, more and more. As a result we got stuck at 60 km. We dug for a long time then tried to fix the car but there was nothing we could do so had to carry on without the clutch, just making sure that we never stopped. Sure got stuck one more time, only 10 km to finish. While we were digging out the car, it became dark. We got dirty all over and even had torn the shoes – so hard we were trying in the darkness. Then got out somehow. But it was almost impossible to drive! We could see nothing! Little front lights are not of great help, moreover they are almost useless amidst the dunes.  Somehow we managed to get to the finish, almost to the touch. But we must not stop ‘cause we got no clutch! So I jumped out of the car and ran to the marshalls to get the mark and Andrey rode around the control point while I was explaining this to the marshalls who were  going crazy with us, just imagine what they saw! I dare say both we and they will have enough impressions to the rest of Dakar!

After two days of Dakar 2013 the first ten of the cars looks as follows:


Full results after 2 days>>>

Perhaps bikes and quads were the less affected groups today: a great part of riders took the advantage of possibility to ride a little bit longer path around dunes. But hard-working Spaniard Joan Barreda Bort who took the dunes by storm got the first position in bikes on the spot. Here, however as elsewhere (and it was predictable)  the overall table changed drastically:

Bikes after day 2 (first ten):


Full results after 2 stages>>>

Quads after 2 days (first ten):

Full results after 2 stages>>>

In trucks the first at finish was Gerard de Rooy who complained for the navigational problems (haven’t we heard this somewhere today?),  he lost 4.5 minutes due to this but quickly regained them.

Gerard De Rooy (driver #500): A beautiful special which I think was designed with the trucks in mind, because it had nice dunes and we had loads of fun despite a few tricky moments during the descents. Unfortunately, we lost about 10 minutes looking for a waypoint until we finally found it as we went by a dune. Anyway, I'm quite happy, especially because we were able to drive flat out in the last few kilometres... Broadly speaking, everything went well.


But the things did not go so good for Hans Stacey (#504). His IVECO overturned so the crew lost about 25 minutes.

Amongst our compatriots the nearest to the leader is the 5th at the finish of the day. #501 Eduard Nikolaev with KAMAZ went 3rd in the first part of the special but also faced the navigational problems.

First ten trucks after day 2:


Full results after 2 days>>>

On the third day of Dakar 2013 the racers will meet... the real roller-coaster South-American style: 243 kilometers from Pisco to Nazka with dizzying ascendings and descendings. Height difference at 115 km is up to 500 meters – the dangerous descent  (marked in the scheme with two exclamations) is a good check for the breaks and the strength… of the crew’s nerves. And all this is a sea of sand. The stormy sea…

Stay tuned!

Photo: www.dakar.com, Michkail Lastochkin and G-Force Motorsport


More on the topic: Voice of Dakar at FreeDRIVE (audio), official photogallery, Championat.com