- The SsangYong Motorsport driver fights tiredness to complete another stage despite the hardships.
- The Madrid-born driver and his co-driver Diego Vallejo climb up some more positions, now lying 37th in the overall ranking, and reach the T1.3 class podium with their Rexton DKR.
- “It’s been a typical tough Dakar stage. We are moving forward and that’s something good. We’re happy for it.”
A new Dakar 2019 stage and a new test for Oscar Fuertes and his co-driver Diego Vallejo. The SsangYong Motorsport crew finished stage 3 between San Juan de Marcona and Arequipa in 42nd position, after a tough and gruelling 331-kilometre timed race. This is a great result in a day that has taken a toll on the group, and has propelled the Rexton DKR to 37th position in the overall classification and to the podium in the T1.3 class (rear-wheel-drive petrol-powered cars), where they already hold the third position.
In this way, the Madrid-born driver has completed three stages in a row, gaining spots in the overall ranking despite being extremely tired since Tuesday, when he had to drive without power steering. “I’ve really had a hard time – physically speaking – but we are moving forward and that’s something good. We’re happy for it”, says Fuertes.
The stage has been quite tough overall and the former Spanish Gravel Rally champion could not escape some mishaps. “It’s been a typical tough Dakar stage. We had problems with the on-board inflation/deflation system [that allows to increase and decrease tyre pressures from the cockpit] so we had to stop to take it apart”, he explains.
The SsangYong Motorsport crew recovered when they got to the dunes and Fuertes could make the best of the Rexton DKR features and his expertise in off-track driving. “Despite being tough, we could tackle the dunes without a problem”, confirms Galician co-driver Diego Vallejo, who skilfully navigated the soft sand.
This Thursday, the SsangYong Motorsport drivers will face the first leg of the marathon stage, without service at the end of the day, which will take cars from Arequipa to Tacna in a 406-kilometre special stage, the longest in the Dakar up to now. A new test for the Rexton DKR to keep the podium in their class in the toughest race in the world
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