Warmed-up InstaForex Loprais Team ready for start of Dakar Rally 2023

30.12.2022

The InstaForex Loprais Team is in the final stages of preparation for the Dakar Rally 2023. A few hours left before the official start of the forty-fifth edition of the most famous marathon rally in the world.

Dakar 2022

After Wednesday’s arrival to Yanbu, the InstaForex Loprais Team headed to the port to pick up all the vehicles and equipment, which arrived in Saudi Arabia from France by ship. Then followed a 100-kilometer trip to the North, where organizers had already prepared the first bivouac on the shores of the Red Sea. The Sea Camp will temporarily host all competitors, their entourage, and organizers until January 2. Despite it being a well-equipped little town, you would have little luck trying to find it on the maps. It is purposely built for 3,000 people, with a main ‘square’ and a very sophisticated infrastructure which offers even a volleyball court.

But the Sea Camp is far from a quiet village. On the contrary, it is full of life, as all the teams are finishing their preparations. On Thursday, December 29, the InstaForex Loprais Team first tested its Praga V4S DKR at a shakedown before going through the scrutineering in the bivouac in the evening.

Dakar 2022

“The shakedown was a great warm-up. We tested the Lady and got used to each other as a crew,” says Aleš Loprais.

“At the scrutineering, it was obvious that the Dakar Rally is now run by the FIA. The inspectors really paid attention to all the details, but we handled everything. Tomorrow, we will do some final tuning, and a test of how quickly we can change tires.”

Dakar 2022

The tire change will be physically demanding for Loprais, his mechanic Petr Pokora, for whom it is going to be the fifth Dakar rally alongside Loprais, and a navigator Jaroslav Valtr jr., who is preparing for his second start with this crew.

After that, it will be time for the Dakar Rally 2023 to finally begin. First, on Saturday, December 31, there is going to be a ceremonial start right in the Sea Camp area. Following that, the Praga #508 truck will head into its opening special stage.

“It looks like the prologue route is going to be fast, and every second will matter. I don’t want to take any risks, but I also can’t drive slowly. I want to drive with my brain but fast,” smiles Aleš Loprais.

The 13-kilometer-long prologue starts and finishes just next to the bivouac. It consists mostly of a sandy, flat desert plain on the coast. Before the start, participants can either walk the route, try it on a two-wheel non-thermal vehicle, or study it on a video provided by organizers. Thanks to that, the navigators will not have so much to do this time, but the drivers must still fully focus on this short fast stage. Even the smallest error might cost the crew several places, which would cause troubles, as the prologue decides the starting order for the first long stage (616 kilometers in total, including 368 kilometers of the special stage) which takes place on New Year’s Eve.

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