- The SsangYong Motorsport driver completes a strenuous special among the dunes.
- “The SsangYong Rexton DKR endures a gruelling stage and takes its crew closer to the finish line in Lima, just three days away. “It’s incredible what this car can take”, states Oscar Fuertes.
- “Without a doubt, this Dakar is being tougher than last year’s. There’s still a lot to go and we have to go day by day”, admits co-driver Diego Vallejo.
The SsangYong Motorsport team has overcome another challenging stage in Dakar 2019. At the bivouac in San Juan de Marcona, the dream of reaching the finish podium in Lima on 17 January starts to be closer. Oscar Fuertes and Diego Vallejo have climbed up to an outstanding 28th position in today’s special, although it may vary as organisers modified their route and they skipped some waypoints. In the general standings, the Madrid-born driver and his Galician co-driver have reached a 37th provisional position, while they are fourth in the T1.3 class (rear-wheel-drive petrol-powered cars).
The special included a 331-kilometre loop around the San Juan de Marcona bivouac, with virtually no liaisons, a fact that all service crews and the SsangYong Motorsport mechanics appreciated. However, it was a gruelling route. “It was a sea of dunes, the highest dunes I’ve ever seen. Without a doubt, this Dakar is being tougher than last year’s”, assures co-driver Diego Vallejo.
In a terrain with such soft sand, the Spanish crew got stuck around half way into the special. “We wanted to avoid a collision with a truck and that manoeuvre got us into a hole. We were there for around an hour, but we managed to get out without any help”, explains Oscar Fuertes. This has not been the only incident during the day. They hit a dune head-on and lost part of the front. “It’s incredible what this car can take”, states the driver at the bivouac, as he watches the Rexton DKR without the mandatory bonnet.
This Tuesday, the group will head to Pisco; the Dakar bivouac for the next two days. The following stop will be Lima, the capital of Peru, where the finish line of the toughest motor race in the world awaits. “We are exhausted but optimistic and looking forward to reaching the finish line in Lima. There’s still a lot to go and we have to go day by day”, admits Diego Vallejo.
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