Oscar Fuertes does not give up and continues in the Dakar

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Oscar Fuertes does not give up and continues in the Dakar

  • The SsangYong Motorsport driver completes the sixth stage at midnight after a driver shaft broke at the beginning of the stage.
  • The Madrid-born driver and his co-driver Diego Vallejo had to wait for the service truck to resume the race.
  • “Driving this special has been like going up and down a snowy mountain… but in a car”, explains the driver.

The start of the second half of the Dakar 2019 has not been easy for the SsangYong Motorsport crew. Reenergised after the rest day in Arequipa, Oscar Fuertes and Diego Vallejo started the sixth stage to San Juan de Marcona this Sunday full of strength and in high spirits, but an unexpected event got in their way. A drive shaft broke in one of the dunes at the beginning of the stage, making them wait for the service truck before being able to resume the race.

The special was divided into two parts and the mishap took place at the beginning, in a 57-kilometre section in an area known as the Tanaka dunes; the softest dunes in Peru. A treacherous terrain that the Rexton DKR was overcoming without a problem, as it was well guided by the Madrid-born driver and his Galician co-driver, until the driver shaft broke. Once the car was repaired, the SsangYong Motorsport crew continued the race to face the 233-kilometre second part of the special at a good pace, but the hours lost made them get to the bivouac at midnight.

Once again, a Dakar stage has become an odyssey for the SsangYong Motorsport crew, with tough driving on the soft sand of the dunes. “I think the best way to put it is it’s been like going up and down a snowy mountain… but in a car”, explains Fuertes. In addition, there was the added difficulty of the last three hours (almost 150 kilometres) when they had to drive at night. “It’s been a long and tough stage, but the car worked very well once it was repaired and we’re in a very good mood”, summarises the former Spanish Gravel Rally champion, who counts on Diego Vallejo’s outstanding support.  Once again, the Galician co-driver has handled the road book very well in a special with 80% of the route off-track, where navigation was essential.

Stage 7 starts this Monday with a 323-kilometre special around San Juan de Marcona with virtually no liaisons for the first loop stage of this Dakar. Oscar Fuertes and Diego Vallejo are once again in the start line, and are very optimistic despite the drawbacks. “The most important thing is we’re moving forward, we’re synchronised and in a good shape, and that the SsangYong Motorsport team is proving to be capable of overcoming all adversities we come across during this race”, assesses the driver.

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