Objective 150

January 16 th 2020 - 07:58 [GMT + 3]

Ibrahm Almhuna occupies 29th place in the general standings two days from the finish. For this old hand of desert driving, it has been the most demanding experience of his career as a driver. However, he has not let all the mishaps get him down…

© Duda Bairros

If you like to take it easy, then the Dakar is not for you. Ibrahm Almhuna was not looking for a walk in the park… and by signing up for the rally he got what he asked for. Since the start in Jeddah, his truck has been temperamental every day and would have driven anybody crazy, apart from the only Saudi left in the general standings of the truck category after 10 days of racing, who is still able to smile at all the mishaps that he has had to deal with in order to reach the marathon bivouac in Shubaytah: “We haven’t had a single day without problems. From the very first day it was problems with the brakes, then oil as well as water leaks and today the engine started to over-heat after just 10 kilometres of the stage”. This chain of events is well-known to amateur drivers on the Dakar. When problems force a crew to finish late, the lack of sleep comes hand-in-hand with a race against the clock to carry out repairs and then the mishaps happen all over again the following day. This is exactly what Ibrahm and his two travelling companions are experiencing: “We’ve been sleeping between two and four hours per night. When we got to the rest day, I hadn’t changed my clothes for three days. When you’re this tired, each minute of sleep counts!”

Despite such a sequence of difficulties, the driver of truck No. 534 has never given up hope and is trusting in the technique of the tortoise rather than the hare: “My strategy is to always keep on going, even slowly,” he says, with plenty of experience to back this up, because over the last twelve years, Ibrahm has taken part in 138 rallies and has finished them all. While he is surely the most consistent driver on all the rallies contested in the Middle East, he is well aware that he has moved up a level by discovering the Dakar: “On the other rallies, after the stages I had time to drink coffee with my friends, but on this race I haven’t seen anybody else and I can’t tell you anything about the bivouac. If I finish, it will be my 139th rally, but this one is worth at least 10, so perhaps we could say it’s my 150th! In any case, I’m doing everything I can to get to the finish”. And with a smile, what’s more…

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