The way things are shaking out, pretty much anyone who's managing to survive this year's Dakar is probably interesting, so I thought I'd start this thread where folks can post stories about drivers we never hear much about.
I'll admit it : I've been doing my best to follow #394, Annie Seel, the driver from Sweden and the only woman left in the race. Once you start falling towards the back of the pack, things only get worse for you, mainly because you often end up driving the last part of the race at night. She usually ends up getting in so late that both the Dutch site and Dakar have shut down for the day, so you never really know until the next morning if she has made it to the finish or not.
Here's her report from the end of stage 4 :
We have slept only 3 hours in the past 3 days! This is killing any car driver.
On stage 4 we arrived into bivouac at 5 in the morning. The start was late, so it was an evening race – a night ride to finish.
As there was so much trouble managing the car, because the power steering doesn’t work, big muscles are needed to make a 2 ton rally car turn. My arms are not strong enough to handle the steering wheel very quickly, so Paul and I have shared driving. I ride the easier parts and Paul the tracks with lots of fast turns.
We have had lots of technical mishaps, punctures etc. The wishbone has broken twice. We have spare parts, but so much to fix takes time.
Now there are not many cars still racing, and we are the last to arrive to finish every night/morning. All behind us are out there stuck in the tracks….
And the first thought of every racer at that moment, WTH am i doing here!!
As a Swede I was also thinking about "Rally Princess" Annie Seel, she is tiny but has what it takes to survive Dakar!
She has don a lot of Dakars on bike, now in the drivers seat of a car for the first time.
I have participated in crowd-funding he previous Dakars, see more: https://anniedakar.wordpress.com/
Hope she will make it to the end this time as well, despite mechnical struggles.
Mark you are spot on with your comments most people in the US and Australia where I'm from just don't get what it takes to get to the start let alone to finish each stage then make it to the finish.I've followed robby for twenty plus years as an Aussie I feel like he is a honorary Aussie because he is gonna do it his way with pig headed determination wish he had more corporate support than he has got from corporate america
Here's one of the most interesting stories I've heard so far. The Coronel brothers, in the micro Suzuki buggies. Tom was told by Dakar that he was out of the Dakar for missing a bunch of WPs, which indeed he did….and then they let him back in. How often do you hear about something like that ?
Here's his interesting story :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsTgmSgOOsQ&feature=youtu.be
Go Tom : A true hero of the Dakar.
great story and spirit !
dakar decide of your fate just like that !
Bob, Thank you very much for your post.
The language barrier is just too much for me. Every time I strike an interest in something Dakar related, I hit a language wall. My own fault for living in such a small bubble, but I'm typical of most Americans. I do appreciate everyone sharing their peripheral info. It's fun watching RG, but the absolute battle that the lower level drivers fight is inspiring.
Starting late in the order is killing off the back markers one by one. Stopped in the dark, and then little time to make repairs when they get to the bivouac in the morning, let alone getting decent sleep.
Some cool footage of Coronel's buggy : Probably the tiniest car in the whole race :
"Tom Coronel sleeps in the desert" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2JH-VdeXYU&spfreload=10
Better video than anything Eurosport has come up with yet...
"Rally Princess" Annie Seel is sadly out of the race.
She had what it takes to make it to the end, but her car
didn´t as it finally was beyond possible repair until the nex stage.