Proud to have come this far
January 14 th 2020 - 06:51 [GMT + 3]
Even though they had to drop out of the race near Wadi Al Dawasir, Omar Gándara and Sergio Lafuente will have wonderful memories of this first Dakar in Saudi Arabia.
It is 6 pm and night has fallen on the eighth stage of the rally. Omar Gándara and Sergio Lafuente will not reach the finishing line. Well, in fact they have, but thanks to the helicopter that transported them there two hours beforehand. Since then, the Argentinean and Uruguayan have been waiting beside the tent at the finishing line. Their assistance team is meant to pick them up, but it will have to cover almost two hundred kilometres in order to do so. For the crew of Can Am SSV number 423, the race is over. “We broke our chassis climbing over a dune,” explains Omar. “It wasn’t a difficult dune crossing, but the part was worn out. The first week was tough. There were a lot of impacts and the machine suffered a lot”. It seems like it suffered a bit too much. As the cold became harsher, the two South Americans sought refuge beside the organising team at the finishing line, who offered them tea and a few biscuits. Despite dropping out, Omar and Sergio are still smiling. They have been thrilled with their first Dakar in Saudi Arabia, even if they would have liked the rally to stay for a few more years on their continent. “We had lots of fun and we are proud to have come this far to take part in this new version of the Dakar,” says Gándara. “To be honest, it hasn’t been that much of a change of scenery. The rocks and tracks are like those in Argentina and so is the dust”. Omar and Sergio, the winners of the first stage in their T3.S category, took part in several editions of the Dakar in South America, but they had never driven together before. The two men met each other last year on the Merzouga Rally, one on a bike and the other in an SSV. They are now team-mates and friends. That is also what the Dakar is about.