- The SsangYong Motorsport driver and his co-driver Diego Vallejo manage to complete a highly demanding fourth special.
- “Moving forward was very hard with so much fesh-fesh and a broken windshield, but we had to make it to the finish line no matter what.”
Calling the Dakar rally the toughest race in the world is not just an empty phrase but the harsh reality Oscar Fuertes and co-driver Diego Vallejo have experienced firsthand this Thursday. The SsangYong Motorsport crew have managed to complete with huge effort and sacrifice the gruelling fourth 405-kilometre timed special that was part of the first leg of the marathon stage between Arequipa and Tacna, and continue the race displaying extraordinary perseverance.
Dakar 2019 change of scenario has not been an ally for the Madrid-born driver and his Galician co-driver. After leaving the dunes behind on the first stages, the fourth special ran through rocky tracks, with numerous large stones and areas that resembled a trial path. Not to mention the presence of an extraordinary guest: the dreaded fesh-fesh. This fine, soft dust has become Fuertes and his co-driver’s nightmare, especially after breaking the Rexton DKR windshield in a mishap with a truck in such a narrow path.
“It’s been a very tough stage. Moving forward was very hard with so much fesh-fesh and a broken windshield, but we had to make it to the finish line no matter what and that was the only thing we had in mind”, explains Oscar Fuertes, exhausted after a gruelling stage but excited and in good shape after overcoming an epic test that, in his case, turned into an odyssey.
The Dakar continues this Friday with the second part of the marathon stage, without the service team having worked on the Rexton DKR overnight. The stage includes a long 517-kilometre special and a 197-kilometre liaison that will take the group back to Arequipa, where survivors will be able to enjoy a long-deserved rest day on Saturday. “We’re looking forward to get to rest day to recharge our batteries after two extremely long days in a row when we’ve had very little sleep”, admits co-driver Diego Vallejo.
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