A tough but positive day for SA Dakar rookies
What Dakar 2019 Day 3 Report
Where Arequipa, Peru
When Wednesday 9 January 2019
Wednesday's arid 331km Dakar from San Juan de Marcona to Arequipa proved a day of drama for South African rookies Shameer Variawa and Zaheer Bodhanya. The SVR Red Lined Nissan Navara duo had to overcome a few extraordinary challenges along the way, but they were delighted to end up 15th in the T1 class and 49th overall on the day to move up from 21st to 17th overall in the petrol all-wheel drive all-terrain class and from 66th to 54th in the overall rankings. The intrepid duo also jumped up from 17th to 11th in the rookie standings after what ultimately was a positive day in the office.
"Stage three turned out to be a really really tough one, but we had a good result in the end!” Shameer pointed out. “We started really well and once again quickly made our way through the field, which was quite encouraging, but then we came into a canyon section where a car had rolled in and there was only a road for a single car to pass at a time. “It was chaos in there with cars getting stuck and rolling trying to get past, but we managed to get out only to find that we’d missed the waypoint into the canyon and had to go back in to find it!
“Then a little later, we chose not to engage the diff lock at a major dune and got stuck. We engaged the lock to get out and the lock failed to disengage, so we had to strip the car to do so manually and that also cost us a lot of time as we had to remove and replace the belly pan in the field in the process. "So we lost quite a bit of time through the day, most of it though no fault of our own, which is a bit frustrating, but that is the Dakar!
“We were in the stage for eight hours today and we still have a 450km road section to the bivouac,” Variawa explained at 18h00 Peru time. “We are soldiering on — we started at 10 this morning and will be at the bivouac at midnight so the lads will have an all-nighter to get the car ready for the marathon stage tomorrow.
“The good news is that we were not the only crew to battle today, so we had a fairly good result in spite of all the drama and we are ready to get out there to take on the marathon stage — 405km from Arequipa with no service assistance overnight before the second half of the marathon on Friday — bring it on!”
Issued on behalf of Shameer Variawa Racing
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