Our aim in the last two days of the race is the same as at the start: do our best and enjoy every last second of the race
Isidre Esteve is just days away from finishing his second consecutive Dakar Rally on four wheels. The Repsol Rally Team driver ended Thursday in 26th place with a good score in the largest special of this year’s race. With just two stages to go, the Lerida-born driver is just outside the top 20 in the overall classification in 23rd position.
The competitors left Chilecito in the morning and arrived to San Juan after nightfall. Along the way, participants had to cover almost 800 kilometres (270 liaison and 523 special). Isidre Esteve and his co-driver, Txema Villalobos, had another complicated day travelling over sand, hard track, and rocky sections.
“After the first liaison and just before the start of the special, we realized the engine water pump was broken. We decided to backtrack 60 kilometres to get the part changed and, as a result, we started the special two hours after our assigned time”, said the driver, who is sponsored by Repsol and Onyx Seguros, after crossing the finish line.
This initial setback had a knock-on effect on the driver’s progress in his BV6 prototype from Sodicars Racing with adapted controls on the steering wheel by Guidosimplex. “Because of the delay we started out behind lots of lorries, so there were some deep, dangerous tyre tracks. In the second sector, we upped our pace and climbed up a few places. Overall, we’re happy to have finished another day and are looking forward to finishing the Dakar”, commented Isidre Esteve.
This Thursday, the driver from Oliana spent a total of 8 hours and 35 minutes behind the wheel, which provisionally put him in 4th place in the T.1.2 category, reserved for modified diesel 4x4s. In the overall cars ranking, he is currently in 23rd place with an accumulated time of 63:20:23.
Tomorrow (Friday) the competitors will take on the penultimate stage of Dakar 2018, which will take them from San Juan to Córdoba over 560 liaison and 368 special kilometres, where the fesh-fesh and dunes in San Juan will be the main obstacles. “There’s just two days to go and we’re on track to meet our objectives. However, in this race you can’t let your guard down for a second or take anything for granted. We will do our best and enjoy every last second of the race”, said Isidre Esteve.