- “We’ve completed ‘a heck of a stage’, our best day by far. We are tired and looking forward to get some rest, but we are very happy.”
- The SsangYong Motorsport driver reaches the rest day of the Dakar in Arequipa holding the third position in the T1.3 class provisional standings.
- The Madrid-born driver and co-driver Diego Vallejo overtake 40 cars with their Rexton DKR amid the fesh-fesh, with no windshield and after having lost the doors.
Oscar Fuertes’s and Diego Vallejo’s perseverance, effort and sacrifice have made it possible to successfully bring the SsangYong Rexton DKR back to the Arequipa bivouac, where Dakar 2019 survivors will enjoy a fully deserved rest day this Saturday before facing the second week of the competition. The Madrid-born driver and Galician co-driver have successfully overcome the vicissitudes of the previous day to complete their best stage in the Dakar this Friday. In this second part of the marathon, the SsangYong Motorsport crew consolidated the third place in the provisional classification of the T1.3 class (rear-wheel-drive petrol-powered cars).
The stage was expected to be tough, and it definitely was. In fact, the organisers had to call it short at CP3 (third and last checkpoint) due to very unfavourable conditions. Despite this considerable cut, it ended up being a 425-kilometre timed special, the longest of the Dakar. Fuertes and Vallejo classified in 34th (provisional) spot, which takes them to 40th place in the (provisional) overall ranking, after starring another epic stage.
The SsangYong Motorsport drivers had to face –once again– the fesh-fesh (a very fine, soft dust), which slowed them down last Thursday, but this time they could beat it. “We’ve completed ‘a heck of a stage’, our best day by far. We’ve overtaken more than 40 cars in the middle of all the fesh-fesh, although we were racing without windshield and had all the dust on our faces, so overtaking one car after another was increasingly difficult”, explains the former Spanish Gravel Rally champion. To top it all, because there was no windshield, the air pressure in the cockpit sent the doors of the Rexton DKR flying, adding another epic touch to an outstanding performance.
After reaching the halfway point of their second Dakar in the podium mix of their class and after completing a very good stage, Oscar Fuertes and Diego Vallejo feel very positive: “We’re tired and looking forward to get some rest, but we are very happy.” This Saturday they can recharge their batteries in Arequipa during the rest day, while the mechanics from the SsangYong Motorsport team work to leave the Rexton DKR like new. Sunday awaits with an 810-kilometre journey to San Juan de Marcona, the Dakar 2019 longest stage in absolute terms, including a 309-kilometre special with the dunes as protagonists once again.
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