Nor they must have those lived by Carlos Sainz will be not easy for two hours and Lucas Cruz yesterday. After a nightmare Dakar last year, where the new style of sailing crossed them, arriving at this new edition and repeating the same scene was not in the script.
But again the way of understanding the Dakar of its director, David Castera, has sneaked in as an unpleasant guest at a party in which everyone looked to the brand new electric Audi as the deciding factor in Sainz’s choices. However, it has been an old ghost that has brought Madrid from his dream of the fourth Dakar at the first change.
“If this is what the Dakar wants … it’s a shame”, he managed to say after getting out of the car with a very serious gesture and showing his disappointment in front of one of his bosses, Sven Quandt (without hiding it from the gazes of journalists), with this new labyrinth in which the roads of northern Saudi Arabia have become for Madrid … Although it was not only for him. Tambin fell into the traps Nani Roma and his navigator Lex Haro, or four of the best motorcycle riders on the Dakar: Joan Barreda, Toby Price, Ricky Brabec and Kevin Benavides.
OPPOSING POSITIONS IN THE CAMP
MARCA was able to consult with some Spanish co-drivers the specific point of the roadbook that brought about the controversy and there were opposing positions. Some assured that it is the right type of navigation for the Dakar and those who suffered the most yesterday, although they did not criticize the indications in the road book, they did explain that the passage of the motorcycles had practically eliminated the main track -which was the one that had to be continue at that point – and navigation would once again become a ‘lottery’, as Sainz defined it last year.
In fact, both Nani Roma and Carlos Sainz had come to take the right path in some of the long minutes of confusion that took them out of the quagmire (one hour and 17 minutes in the case of Catalan and 2 hours and 6 minutes in the case of Catalan. Madrid plus another 15 minute penalty), but the confusion was such that they didn’t even know. “There was a point where you had to follow a mean heading 10 degrees, and on that road instead of heading 10 sometimes you would go heading 300. We thought it was wrong and we have been back and forth several times. cars, motorcycles and quads doing the same thing. How many people have been lost there? Either we are all very stupid or … well, there are many dakares already, I am very disappointed “, Sainz said biting his tongue and trying not to lengthen his speech so as not to explode completely.
The race director had already warned that navigation would again be an important factor this year and it has been noticed from very early on. Perhaps too much, because another general opinion is that such an early navigation ‘cheat’ may detract from the interest of the test, which now seems to have been reduced to a duel between two starring Nasser Al-Attiyah and Sebastien Loeb, first and second overall (the French was very lucky as he reached the critical point in the wake of Qatar and was able to continue your good line without problems) separated by just 12 minutes.
The big question now is whether the rest of the Dakar will be as demanding as yesterday’s stage.. Only in this way will there be any hope for Sainz, who yesterday certainly did not harbor any (the objective is already lowered to the podium). Today we will begin to discover it … as well as the true potential of the Audi, which can now be unlocked without the pressure of fighting for victory. Everyone knew the first year would be hard, but … not from day one.