He may be just 35 years of age but Martin Prokop already boasts a huge amount of racing experience, having made no fewer than 120 starts at the World Rally Championship since 2005. After establishing himself as the Czech Republic's most successful rally driver, Martin made his cross-country debut at Dakar 2016, coming in a very impressive 14th place alongside WRC co-driver Jan Tomanek. The two compatriots were in different vehicles last year - Prokop improved to 11th in the cars with Ilka Minor, while Tomanek guided Ales Loprais to seventh in the trucks - but the dream team has been reunited for Dakar 2018, where they will be racing for MP-Sports. Martin and Jan enjoyed a successful season at the FIA Cross-Country Rallies World Cup, coming in seventh overall; highlights included a superb second place in Abu Dhabi and fourth at the Hungarian Baja. Though they ran into some trouble in Morocco, the pair were happy with the pace of their Ford F-150 Evo - affectionately known as 'Shrek' - and will now be gunning for a top-10 finish on the Dakar.
“Our goal is to improve on last year's position. We finished 11th, but I think it would be a shame for us not to target the top 10. We've had better preparation this year, and that has allowed us to focus fully on the car. The Dakar is all about having a solid vehicle. It has to be able to cover over 5,000 kilometres at high speed and still stay in one piece! We've tried to make some improvements to close the gap on our competitors, and our speed has definitely improved - that much was obvious in Morocco. Even though I have a lot of driving experience from the WRC, the switch to the Dakar has been very demanding. It's just not about speed but also decision-making and an ability to read the terrain. Both driver and navigator have a big job, and it's not necessarily something you can learn in just a year or two.”
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