Dakar X-Raid Rest day: Recovering from the adventures

– Tough first week of the Dakar
– Focus on daily results

After an exhausting first week, the X-raid team is taking a rest day today as part of the Dakar 2024. The mechanics and crews have tough days and many kilometres behind them. David Castera, Director of the Dakar Rally, had promised that this would be the toughest edition since the move to Saudi Arabia. The first week of the Dakar clearly confirmed this statement. The terrain was tough on man and machine. Unfortunately, the X-raid team cannot present the results that would have been possible. Due to various incidents, a fight for the top positions in the overall standings is no longer possible. That’s why the X-raid team and crews are focussing on strong daily results.

It is all the more important today that the drivers use the day to recover. Sleeping in, a few press appointments and preparing for the second half of the Dakar together with the team. The mechanics, on the other hand, can’t rest. The vehicles are almost completely taken apart, checked and repaired, and then reassembled.

Vaidotas Zala and Paulo Fiuza held a place in the top 10 in the MINI JCW Rally Plus for a long time. The Lithuanian was able to work his way forward in the overall standings. But on the 48h chrono stage, the vehicle was so badly damaged when it hit a dune that he had to retire from the stage early.

The two Poles Krzysztof Holowczyc and Lukasz Kurzeja were plagued by bad luck right from the start. On the second day, they had to swerve out of the way of a motorcyclist to avoid a collision. In doing so, they crashed into a stone at high speed. At this point, they also lost their chances of a top position. Nevertheless, there was no question of stopping for either of them. Firstly, Holowczyc and Kurzeja had put too much work into the preparations and secondly, every kilometre raised money for a Polish charity organisation. « My sponsor BIO-GEN will donate PLN 10 to « The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity Foundation » for every kilometre ridden in the special stage, » says Holowczyc. The aim of the organisation is, among other things, to support the public healthcare system in Poland by purchasing state-of-the-art equipment for Polish hospitals and clinics.

It has also been a tough rally so far for the three X-raid 1000R Turbo side-by-sides. Due to technical problems at the beginning of the rally, the X-raid Yamaha supported team focussed on daily results. Ignacio Casale and Alvaro Leon in particular regularly finished in the top 10, but both have decided not to take part in the second week of the Dakar.

Tomorrow the Dakar entourage will be travelling from Riyadh to Al Duwadimi. It will be another long day: 874 kilometres in total, including 484 kilometres against the clock. Apart from a short excursion into the dunes, the programme mainly includes gravel roads.

Quotes from the drivers
Vaidotas Zala (#214 MINI JCW Rally Plus): « The first half of the Dakar went almost according to plan. Unfortunately the 48h chrono stage went wrong. We had an unfortunate moment there that ended in a problem with the suspension. That’s why we couldn’t finish the stage. That was a real shame. But the goal for the second week is clear: to be on the road with competitive speed and finish the Dakar the way we started it. The MINI looks good again. Paulo and I are happy that we can continue. »

Krzysztof Holowczyc (#217 MINI JCW Rally Plus): « It was a very long 48 hours, more than 500 classified kilometres. After jumping over a dune, we landed on Kris Meek’s car. Later, we got stuck several times and didn’t reach the planned overnight stop because the clutch had broken down. We were in the middle of nowhere! We put a lamp on the roof – just so that nobody would run us over at night. Early Friday morning, a service van was supposed to come and help us. Around midnight there was a huge bang, sand and wind… A helicopter came to us – bringing food and drink. Unfortunately, all the food and water was destroyed when it was dropped from a great height. A few bottles survived, so at least we had something to drink. Three packets of peanuts also made it. The taste of desert sand crackers will stay with me for a long time. Luckily, a helicopter picked us up the next day. The team took care of the MINI. This really is the toughest Dakar I’ve ever taken part in. Today we have a rest day and will come back on Sunday with new energy! »

Annett Quandt (#321 X-raid 1000R Turbo): « This is one of the toughest Dakars I’ve driven so far. The stages are wonderful. We had a few problems – some smaller, some bigger – that we had to solve. And fortunately we were able to. We managed to finish every stage and still be in the race. The 48h chrono stage was particularly tough. Over 600 kilometres through dunes had to be completed in two days. Including an overnight stay in the middle of the desert. Fortunately, I love driving through dunes. The mechanics are now preparing everything for the second week. We are also trying to get some rest now to be fit for the coming days. »

Pál Lónyai (#334 X-raid 1000R Turbo): « First of all, it’s one of the greatest adventures of my life to be here with this great team. The team is professional and helpful! At the beginning we had some technical problems. Later, everything was fine and we made up a lot of positions. But then came the 48h chrono stage. We completed the first 200 of the 600 kilometres. But then I suddenly had problems with my vision and I couldn’t concentrate properly. Probably dune sickness! Then I also injured my neck. That’s why I decided not to continue the stage. The risk would have been too high. I want to finish the Dakar. I’ll continue tomorrow. »

Overall standings (Ultimate-class)
1. C. Sainz / L. Cruz – Audi – 24h 59m 32s
2. M. Ekström / E. Bergkvist – Audi – 25h 19m 53s
3. S. Loeb / F. Lurquin – Prodrive – 25h 29m 03s
4. L. Moraes / A. Monleon – Toyota – 26h 03m 32s
5. G. de Mevius / X. Panseri – Toyota – 26h 09m 19s…
48. V. Zala / P. Fiuza – MINI JCW Rally Plus – 79h 31m 11s…
58. K. Holowczyc / L. Kurzeja – MINI JCW Rally Plus – 111h 36m 25s

Overall standings (Challenger-class)
1. E. Goczal / O. Mena – Taurus – 26h 52m 02s
2. M. Guthrie / K. Walch – Taurus – 27h 54m 20s
3. C. Gutierrez / P. Moreno – Taurus – 28h 18m 36s
4. F. Lopez / J. Latrach – Can-Am – 28h 18m 54s
5. A. Jones / G. Gugelmin – Can-Am – 28h 42m 14s…
23. A. Quandt / A. Seel – X-raid 1000R Turbo – 42h 41m 24s…
26. I. Casale / A. Leon – X-raid 1000R Turbo – 61h 47m 59s…
28. P. Lonyai / F. Ippolito – X-raid 1000R Turbo – 118h 00m 07s…