Dakar 2014: Interview – INSTAFOREX LOPRAIS TEAM

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How does it see Karel Loprais after the first half of the race?

Karel Loprais knows as the six-time winner the Dakar Rally very well. Therefore, we had some questions about it in the middle of this year:

Saturday was a rest day. What is actually regime of the team at this day?
The team can sleep longer, but they must do heavy maintenance on the truck. They do the essential things, they have to replace those things which mechanics see fit.

Do the members of the racing crew help?
They need to put together. If need be, they certainly help, but there’s enough mechanics. But the main mechanic that goes in the crew would be hanging around to know what they were doing at the truck.

And what about official meetings, for example with fans? Do they have time for it?
It depends on the place. In the South America there are rest days In the large cities, so there are many people. But teams do not have enough time for fans, they have to work on technique and gain strength. In our time we travelled without assistance, so we had to work on the truck. Despite the fact that there were not so many people in Africa.

The six stages are over. How do you assess them?
The organizers got tougher. This is reflected in the renegades who do not ride anymore. But basically the Dakar returns to the original tracks which I remember. The boys had two tough days. We drove the day stage, after it night stage and day stage again. Without time to sleep, without assistance. Now it’s hard but those who were ready go further. At our times the eight hundred kilometres long stages ran frequently. We came to the bivouac, went to sleep and next day just got in the truck and drove away.

Aleš loses an hour and forty minutes to the leader de Rooy. Is it any chance to do anything with it?
There are still many chances before the finish of the Dakar. Everyone could have some problems, even de Rooy. Nothing is lost.

Was anything interesting for you at this year’s Dakar?
There are high temperatures, in Africa there wasn’t. It is enemy of all.

Let’s return to the team, to the truck especially. The 4×4 system was broken twice. How can it happen that the same fault recurs?
It just happens. I didn’t talk to guys, so I don’t know what was exactly wrong with the truck. We’ll see what they say.

And  your forecast for the second week of the Dakar Rally?
If the technique will be right, it will be good. The crew goes on, you can see it on them.