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“We want to drive smart”
After missing the last four editions of the Dakar, Jaroslav Valtr is back on the world's toughest rally in 2021. The Czech truck driver made his debut in 2012, achieving a solid 12th place for the KM Racing team set up by Martin Macik Sr. and Pavel Kubicek. After abandons in 2013 and 2014, he improved to 8th place with the Buggyra Racing team in 2016. The 51-year-old then switched his focus to the Africa Eco Race, where he took a superb 2nd place for Tomas Vratny's Bonver Dakar Project in 2017. Having had the experience of driving for a host of different teams, Jaroslav decided to set up his own racing outfit a few years ago, and has continued to enjoy success on the domestic and international scene. For Dakar 2021, he will be joined by Slovakian navigator Jaroslav Miskolci and Czech mechanic Radim Kaplanek, both of whom have already completed the rally in the past. They will be driving an Iveco Powerstar acquired from Macik and Big Shock Racing, which the Valtr Racing team have been carefully remodeling over the past couple of years. A highly experienced driver, Jaroslav has had the opportunity to showcase his pace in recent seasons, claiming impressive wins at Baja Aragon, the Rallye du Maroc and Baja Poland. He could well be a surprise package among the Czech truck hopefuls, with Macik's son Martin Jr. and Ales Loprais perhaps the more favoured contenders. Then again, 'Jarda' knows very well that pure speed does not necessarily equal success on the Dakar, and that smart driving will be the key in Saudi Arabia. He cherishes hopes of one day participating in the rally with his sons Jaroslav Jr. and Michal, although given that none of the trio are proper mechanics, it may not be possible for them to sit in one truck on such a gruelling race! In the meantime, Jaroslav is determined to commit as few errors as possible at Dakar 2021 and secure a positive result for the Valtr Racing team.
J.V.: “I bought a truck from Martin Macik Sr. and decided to build my own team based on the experience of the 3 places where I had previously hired vehicles. I've gained experience of how teams work, there are always good and bad things. I wanted to be surrounded by people who were enthusiastic about the project. I think that when people really put their hearts into something, you can achieve better results. Obviously I'm interested in sporting results, but above all we want to do a good job, and then I think the results will follow. I think we'll be fine. The Iveco has the best features of all 3 trucks I've raced before. She's as comfortable as the Phoenix, can jump like the Liaz and has excellent performance like the Bonver. Saudi Arabia will probably be similar to Africa. There will be more space, which is an advantage because there will be more opportunities to overtake. And more dunes. But I expect them to be rather tough, because it's quite cold there.
My dream is to have two vehicles on the Dakar: the boys in one, me in the other, and we'll cover each other's backs. When you don't make unnecessary mistakes, you can finish high up the standings. At Dakar 2016 we made some silly errors. First a mechanical one, then I misjudged the tracks at one point and flipped the truck. And we got lost. Those are the things we want to avoid. We analysed the top 10 crews at Dakar 2020 and monitored their problems on social networks and in the media. We worked out that about 80% of the mistakes were avoidable. That's why we want to drive smart and try not to make errors, then we can be very fast.”
VALTR RACING TEAM
- Marque : IVECO
- Modèle : POWERSTAR
- Préparateur : VALTR RACING TEAM
- Assistance : VALTR RACING TEAM
- Classe : T5.2 Camions modifiés
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