The 45th edition of the Dakar Rally is history. Jaroslav Valtr was aiming for his maiden triumph on the final stage today, but a 2-minute penalty eventually relegated him to third. This time, all three Buggyra ZM Racing Tatras were in the top ten of today‘s stage.
Valtr set the third best time in the last stage of the Dakar, Macháček would like to do the Dakar all over again . Kazarka third in the Dakar Classic
Jaroslav Valtr treated the last stage as one long sprint. "Today's stage was very fast, we were always going full throttle. We didn't catch one waypoint at the beginning, so we let it go, kept going and tried to catch Martin Maciek. The Tatra is unbelievable. We drove on to these little grassy patches and bumps, but we drove full spead. and made up a lot of time in this section. It was a good day and it made up for the unfortunate day before yesterday," said the Tatra Phoenix pilot. "I'm happy to have finished the Dakar, that's the most important thing for me. I have a negative score so far, so I'm happy to be at the finish. I'm happy, I might even cry, so I try to control myself," added an emotional Tatra Buggyra ZM Racing team driver.
His team-mate Martin Šoltys was not hiding his joy at finishing the Dakar. This year's edition was definitely the hardest of all those held in Saudi Arabia. It was also the longest. I am glad that our Tatra which we put together at the last minute, implementing a number of new items but using the old base type, made it to the end. A lot of people didn't give us much of a chance, so I am happy." He also paid tribute to the Buggyra mechanics. "I'm also glad that we had a perfect team of mechanics around the truck who were able to keep the Tatra in good shape throughout the Dakar. Everybody has problems during the Dakar, it is just that some people admit to them and others don’t. Thanks to the mechanics, we made it to the end, so have to thank them a lot," said Martin Šoltys with emotion in his voice.
Then he briefly described the final 135-km long Dakar stage. "Today's stage was tricky from a navigation‘s point of view. Right after the start, there were two waypoints close together, a lot of people were going back. We drove on to get to the finish. We have a big lead on the crews behind us, so there was no need to panic," said the Tatra 815 pilot
You could also see the joy on Róbert Kasák's face. "We are at the finish line, there is nothing else to say. I have no words. During the last leg, we had a little race. It is a big responsibility to take the whole crew on the last meters of the Dakar. It is a great victory for everyone to complete such a difficult event. The Tatra did a great job all along but our bodies didn't. We had a slow start as we hadn’t been training regularly. But despite all the issues, our result is great. The Argentine Dakar was difficult, but this one was the hardest I have done so far," admitted the Tatra Buggyra Slovakian driver.