Monday was Isidre Esteve's best day of the 2018 Dakar to date. Whereas many others ran into serious problems and even had to abandon the race, the Repsol Rally Team driver scored his best partial result so far: 31st overall and 4th in the T1.2 category. This brings him to 33rd place overall following the organisation's response to the complaint he filed in the prologue, which gave him back part of the time lost due to a faulty GPS. We've been feeling great all around, and we're getting better with each passing day", the driver from Lérida declared with satisfaction.
Isidre Esteve and his co-driver Txema Villalobos began the third stage, spanning 296 timed kilometres between Pisco and San Juan de Marcona, with their BV6 in perfect condition despite having crashed into a dune yesterday. A team member from French company Sodicars Racing and the Repsol Rally Team mechanic, David Pigem, went to work on the vehicle once they made it to camp, and the vehicle is now performing better than ever thanks to the new engine mapping and the brilliant clutch system provided by Guidosimplex.
The driver from Lérida steadily guided the vehicle through the course without committing any driving or navigating mistakes, allowing him to move up several positions as he manoeuvred through the special's Peruvian dunes. Isidre Esteve was in 38th place after first part of the day, but in the second part he managed to advance six places for a final time of 4 hours, 44 minutes, and 38 seconds.
“We're really satisfied. With the technical changes the team made yesterday, the car is flying like a rocket and we maintained a good rhythm throughout the stage. Without a doubt, today was our best day. We've been feeling really good and we're going faster and faster. Without a doubt, this is all good news. We're in high spirits and looking forward to the days to come”, the driver sponsored by Repsol and Onyx Seguros revealed.
Despite what his statement might suggest, the stage he traversed on Monday was no walk in the park. "The special was very complicated. Some of the dunes were higher than yesterday's, there were canyons that were hard to get through, there was fesh-fesh and some really fast areas, but we didn't run into any problems and we even had fun. Txema Villalobos navigated perfectly."
After the first three days, the Repsol Rally Team is ranked 33rd overall for cars and 4th in the T1.2 category (off-road 4x4 modified diesel) with a total accumulated time of 11 hours, 7 minutes, and 5 seconds. Tuesday will mark the fourth stage with a 330-kilometre loop that begins and ends in San Juan de Marcona. "We'll have to be really careful because this may be one of the most difficult days of the 2018 Dakar", predicted Isidre Esteve.