Dakar 2022: Ales Loprais in a grip of Kamaz

11.01.2022

After two-thirds of the 2022 Dakar Rally, Ales Loprais, Jaroslav Valtr jr. and Petr Pokora with their Praga V4S DKR truck hold fourth position in the provisional standings, behind three trucks of Kamaz factory team. After the eighth stage of the rally, they now also have to watch out for Andrey Karginov with the other truck from Naberezhnye Chelny.

3rd and 4th stage

Monday’s stage (395 km) led from Al Dawadimi to Wadi Ad Dawasir through the western part of Rub’ al Khali. The competitors faced dunes of second and third level of difficulty, but that is the perfect terrain for Aleš Loprais. He managed to keep up with factory Kamaz trucks, holding fifth place throughout all the waypoints. However, at the end of the special stage, the Praga #508 had lost its luck for a moment, as the crew had to deal with a right-rear puncture, with less than 70 kilometres to go.

“It was not a typical puncture, but more of a separation of a tread followed by a tyre explosion,” described the mechanic Petr Pokora.

“The punctured tyre did some damage to a splash guard, and one side of the vehicle, but that’s not a problem at all. Other than that, the truck worked perfectly throughout the day.”

After the tyre change, Loprais finished in sixth place, around 20 minutes behind Dmitry Sotnikov in Kamaz, who won the stage and is also the overall leader.

3rd and 4th stage

In the overall standings, the Instaforex Loprais Praga Team remains in fourth place, around an hour and a half behind Sotnikov. The gap to Anton Shibalov in third position is 49 minutes. However, Andrey Karginov with the last Kamaz is currently trying to put the Czech crew under pressure. The Russian driver has now jumped ahead of Janus van Kasteren (Iveco) and currently sits in fifth position, just 11 and a half minutes behind Loprais.

3rd and 4th stage

The final third of the 2022 Dakar Rally starts on Tuesday, January 11, with a loop around Wadi Ad Dawasir. The special stage is 287 kilometres long, but it will not offer many dunes. Instead, there will be much more sand sections with canyons and gravel tracks in mountains.

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