The Tatra Jamal piloted by Ales Loprais, Ferran Marco Alcayna and Petr Pokora reached the finish of the Dakar Rally 2019 with fifth overall rank in the truck category. Thus the small family team not only overcame all obstacles of the extremely demanding 41st edition of the famous race but also managed to successfully compete with the strong and large factory teams taking part.
The organizers had to confine this edition of Dakar to Peru only. That is why the Rally was shorter in terms of mileages and racing days. And yet most participants speak about a “long” Dakar. That is because the organizers managed to build a route testing the physical and psychic conditions of the participants and their technologies down to the very bottom. Everybody had problems in the course of the ten stages. Only one third of the 41 trucks starting from Lima on 6 January returned to the Peruvian capital eleven days later.
“For me this was perhaps the most difficult Dakar, leaving aside those where we had an accident and withdrew prematurely. As for the demand and performance this was one of the toughest editions. It was kind of return to the past marathon rallying. I think this is what might be beneficial for us in future,” guesses Ales Loprais.
Before the final stage Ales, Ferran and Petr promised to try to attack the interim fourth rank held by Federico Villagra. Although they achieved the second time of the last special stage, which was 112 kilometres long, it was not enough to wipe off the whole deficit. In the finish the Queen, as Ales Loprais nicknames his Tatra, was mere 11 minutes late after the Argentine pilot's Iveco.
“We wanted that a lot, but we needed this Dakar to be a little longer to achieve it. Our destiny is given and we must be glad for where we rank in the end. We are a small family team without factory support and yet we have succeeded among the big factory teams,” reminds the Czech trucker of the fact that the remaining nine ranks in the Top Ten ranking of the final classification were only occupied by factory-supported crews.
“So joy and joy overall and I would mainly like to express my sincere thanks to the boys, the whole team, our families, fans and sponsors, for without them we would never have managed this. Even though we only enjoyed two problem-free stages, they counted for all and filled us with hopes for the future. To try to defeat factory teams is a big challenge and I believe we will successfully continue in that,” concludes Loprais.
Muchas gracias, Perú! Adiós!
Final results of Dakar Rally 2019 – trucks:
1. Nikolaev / Iakovlev / Rybakov (Kamaz) 41:01:35
2. Sotnikov / Nikitin / Mustafin (Kamaz) +25:36
3. De Rooy / Rodewald / Terrallardona (Iveco) +1:34:44
4. Villagra / Yacopini / Torlaschi (Iveco) +5:49:08
5. Loprais / Marco Alcayna / Pokora (Tatra) +5:59:51
6. Viazovich / Haranin / Zhihulin (Maz) + 6:39:29