- The SsangYong Motorsport driver finishes the antepenultimate stage of the 2019 Dakar rally 34th in the overall standings and fourth in the T1.3 class.
- The Madrid-born driver and co-driver Diego Vallejo had to be extremely precise with driving and navigation to finish the stage with their SsangYong Rexton DKR.
- “The organisation warned it was going to be the toughest stage by far, and it really was, but the Rexton DKR performed wonderfully and took us here”, explains the driver.
Oscar Fuertes is already in Pisco after completing Stage 8 this Tuesday – the antepenultimate stage of the 2019 Dakar – driving 575 kilometres from San Juan de Marcona, which included a very tough 360-kilometre special split in two parts. The SsangYong Motorsport driver and co-driver Diego Vallejo took 6 hours and 21 minutes of great driving and navigational skills to be classified in 36th place in the day. They are now 34th in the overall standings (climbing up three positions since Monday) with a total of 55 hours of driving in the competition, and keep the fourth position in their T1.3 class (rear-wheel-drive petrol-powered cars).
Most of the special featured lots of dunes again as well as some sand and broken tracks full of fesh-fesh. However, the terrain was not the only difficulty of the day. The stage kicked off with heavy fog, which made it hard to work in the SsangYong Rexton DKR cockpit. “The combination of dust and fog reduced visibility considerably; you couldn’t see a thing beyond two meters”, explains Oscar Fuertes, who decided to drive without the windshield in the second week of the competition, using some wind deflectors instead and wearing – together with Diego Vallejo – the effective Pyrotect helmets.
The former Gravel Spanish Rally champion and his Galician co-driver had to be extremely precise with driving and navigation during the first part of the special to finish unscathed at the wheel of their Rexton DKR. Right after this, the SsangYong Motorsport crew had to face a sea of dunes in the second part of the special. “The last 200 kilometres have been all dunes until the end of the stage. Dunes and dunes on end, unbelievable! They were really tough, and paths were very narrow. The organisation warned it was going to be the toughest stage by far, and it really was, but the Rexton DKR performed wonderfully because it was a gruelling stage and it took us here”, says Oscar Fuertes.
Stage 9 of Dakar 2019 starts this Wednesday with a 409-kilometre loop around Pisco, including a 313-kilometre special. It will be one of the last two obstacles for the SsangYong Motorsport crew before heading to the awaited finish line in Lima, which will welcome the competition survivors on 17 January.
Download press note HERE