Dakar 2023: Stage 5 - Joan Font has another great stage after saving a technical incident

Dakar 2023: Stage 5 - Joan Font has another great stage after saving a technical incident

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  • The driver from Vic and Themis López lose a wheel during the special, but they solve the incident losing very little time.
  • The FN Speed driver finishes for the second consecutive day in the Top 20 of the T3 category and is 17th overall.
  • "Themis managed to make a fortunate repair that was perfect to finish the stage with a good pace".

The first stage entirely on sand and dunes of the Dakar 2023 has allowed Joan Font and Themis Lopez to climb to 17th place in the T3 category (light prototypes), four places higher than the place they occupied the day before. And this despite the fact that the FN Speed Team team lost a wheel on their Can-Am Maverick during Thursday's 374-kilometer special (a Ha'il - Ha'il loop). The incident cost them half an hour, but they still finished the stage in 20th place after 6 hours and 45 minutes behind the wheel, and made a good jump in the general standings.

The day started off great for the driver from Vic and his Aragonese co-driver, who maintained a very good pace in the first part of the special, between winding sandy tracks and dune ridges. When they reached the neutralization for refueling, at km 210, they were only 23 minutes behind the leader of the category and were gaining a lot of positions. Then the Dakar took its toll and they lost a wheel on the Can-Am number 318. "It was the rear left one; in a jump, the wheel studs broke on impact", confirms Font.

Such an incident can ruin anyone's Dakar career, but the FN Speed Team pair rolled up their sleeves to pull through, thanks in particular to the work of co-driver Themis "MacGyver" Lopez: "Fortunately Themis managed to make a fortunate repair. We made an invention with the spare studs we were carrying and removed a nut from each wheel. The solution was perfect and we were able to finish the stage at a good pace".

Once on the road again, the Can-Am sponsored by Doga, Racing Oil and FN Speed picked up the pace almost as if nothing had happened. The scenery continued to be of undulating sandy tracks, off-road through the dunes and also other faster tracks, a terrain in which Font has shown a solid and solvent driving, well guided by Themis in a complicated day of navigation in the desert. Thus, for the second day in a row, they have placed in the Top 20 of the stage in their category.

Once on the road again, the Can-Am sponsored by Doga, Racing Oil and FN Speed recovered the pace almost as if nothing had happened. The scenery continued to be of undulating sandy tracks, off-road through the dunes and also other faster tracks, a terrain in which Font has shown a solid and solvent driving, well guided by Themis in a complicated day of navigation in the desert. Thus, for the second day in a row, they have placed in the Top 20 of the stage in their category.

This Friday, the sixth special stage of the race was to take the caravan from Ha'il to Al Duwadimi, with a 467-kilometer timed section. However, the rains of the last few days have made it impossible, for the moment, to set up the planned bivouac in this town. As a result, the organizers have changed the initial itinerary of the sixth stage, which will now finish in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. The special stage will be as originally planned, but shortened to 357 kilometers, again mainly over sand and dunes.

Source FN Speed Team

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