On Saturday, the Dakar caravan parked near the Saudi city of Ha´il for the well-deserved day off. However, you wouldn’t find anyone resting in the bivouac of the Big Shock! Racing team. Although the crew of Martin Macik has done really well so far and currently hold the 4th place in the overall ranking, it was necessary to prepare for the second part of the competition. That’s why the mechanics were the busiest ones in the bivouac. They serviced Charles, the team truck, all day to prepare it for the marathon stage. The seventh stage will probably be the riskiest section of this year’s long-distance rally, which is far more demanding compared to last year, as is evidenced by the fact that from the more than 320 vehicles at the start, only 230 will take part in the seventh stage.
After a day off, Charles shines like new
Saturday was dedicated to preparations for the second half of the Dakar. The driver Martin Macik and navigator Frantisek Tomasek were allowed to get a good night’s sleep, relax a bit, clean up and do all the other things for which there is no time during the race. But on-board mechanic David Svanda was servicing the truck from the early morning, along with other mechanics. Charles, the team truck, enjoyed a day of pampering. The mechanics replaced basically all the parts that move. “In axles, we are changing the essential parts that suffer the most and could break. All springs, all shock absorbers and pins, bearings on the front and rear axles. Of course, we also changed all tires. We’re closely inspecting the engine, which has a new turbo. We change all the oils, fortunately, we have enough supplies from Champion Lubes. Then we also deal with the mounting of tensioner pulleys, belts and others on the engine,“ the on-board mechanic David Svanda explained. The mechanics are extremely careful today because they know that tomorrow after the stage, David will be on his own for the evening service, as per the rules of the marathon stage.
Preparations for the dreaded marathon stage
The marathon stage awaits the competitors on Sunday, after the day off. It is this part that has an impact on the final Dakar results, as the crews sleep outside the bivouac and have to manage the car service on their own. “I think that marathon stages often influence the development of the whole race. Usually, the head starts or time losses that occur here are so great that the final placement of teams at the finish begins to take shape. Although, of course, everything can change in the last stage,“ David Pabiska, team manager, said. That is why it is so important for mechanics to service their racing cars thoroughly during the day off. Everyone on the Big Shock! Racing team hopes that spare parts will not be needed during the marathon stage, but just to be sure, they agreed with the teams that have assistance cars to bring along some of the Big Shock! Racing team’s equipment. The driver Martin Macik, navigator Frantisek Tomasek and mechanic David Svanda can only pack things they will need for spending the night in the desert. They will have to adapt their Sunday ride of 284 kilometres of crossings and 453 race kilometres to the current situation. “We will try to take it easy on Charles so that we don’t have to do major repairs in the bivouac in the evening, but at the same time we don’t want to be left behind,” Martin Macik said. This time, the crews must also manage the following stage to Neom after the marathon night in Sakaka. Without any assistance, they will cover around 1.400 kilometres.