Casale achieved his best stage result, Machacek saved his Dakar

While the reigning champion Josef Machacek was glad just to finish and to drop only to 15th place, following his technical difficulties, the Chilean driver Ignacio Casale achieved his stage career-high.

Heaven and hell

Before the start of Stage 3, Josef Macháček had a reason to be happy. Following some post-race penalties, he moved up to 8th place in the overall standings. However, the stage itself brought very diverse feelings for the six-time Dakar winner. “After the start, the Can-Am was flying and we were enjoying, how great drive it is. We even reached the maximum allowed speed of 130 kph, for the first time this year, and the springs were working perfectly,” described the Dakar veteran the first half of the stage. But then came our technical problems. “Suddenly, we got into a situation that could have meant retirement. But thanks to the fact that I’ve got some mechanical skills, we were able to put the vehicle back together and continue.”

Just to describe how difficult the Dakar is – today’s stage was won by Seth Quintero, who is losing 17 hours to the leader now following his yesterday’s troubles, and he dropped to 35th place overall, while the winner of Stage 2, De Mevius, was still lost on the track when Josef Macháček arrived at the finish.

From fast to furious

Like the three-time quad bike category winner said after the second stage – it’s good, but it could be even better. And he confirmed that right in today’s stage, where he finished in a great 6th place. He has also affirmed his 7th position in the standings after beating 8th Martin Macík by 3 minutes.

“I’m really happy and I feel good. Clearly, we’ve chosen a really good strategy. I don’t like to be too overly optimistic, but I think we did a fantastic job. The vehicle held everything together and hopefully it’ll remain the same in the following stages. Because just like I said yesterday, it’s so fast and today, it got even faster. Even though we’ve done most of the stage in soft sand. I’m curious if it gets even faster later,” said happy Ignacio at the finish line.

“Until the neutral zone, we were battling with Loprais and Macík, but then we lost them,” added mechanic Tomáš Šikola, who was still very pleased about the result, as he was planning a visit to the Dutch driver Van Der Brink. “We were catching each other all the time. I wouldn’t ever believe that the Dakar could be so fast and furious.”

According to the team principal Martin Koloc, the team has done a very good job. But it’s still a small part of a bigger picture. “Sure, we know that we have some direction and now we see that it’s working. We’ve got ahead of Nikolaev, that’s a great motivational factor, but other than that, we still need to wait and see.”

Results: Stage 3

T3- Light prototypes: 1. Seth Quintero (USA/OT3) 2:52:23, 2. Lopez Contardo (Chile/Can -Am) + 5.16, 3. Sebastien Eriksson (Sweden/Can-Am) +7:03…38. Josef Macháček (Czech Republic/Buggyra Can-Am) +1:30:34

T5 – Trucks: 1. Dmitry Sotnikov (Russia/Kamaz) 2:43:25, 2. Andrey Karginov (Russia/Kamaz) + 1:10, 3. J. Van Kasteren (Netherlands/Iveco) + 3:08…6. Ignacio Casale (Chile/Tatra) + 9:22

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Release ID: 89058982