Isidre Esteve has overcome the first dunes stage of the 2020 Dakar without setbacks and has made it to the race's halfway point in 33rd place of the general ranking, the same place he gained in Friday's special. After going through the most critical moment of the current edition, the Repsol Rally Team has gotten its good vibes back right before the rest day, in which members recover in order to continue climbing up the ranking.
The sixth stage began in Ha’il and ended in Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh. The racers had to complete a whopping 830 kilometres, which included a timed 477-kilometre stretch. Isidre Esteve and his copilot Txema Villalobos took off with their BV6 in perfect conditions, thanks to the wonderful work of the Repsol Rally Team's mechanics in the camp after yesterday's problems.
“The team has worked very hard overnight to leave the car in perfect conditions. The oil leak was due to the accident and, luckily, the engine was not harmed”, explained Isidre Esteve. For the first time during this Dakar, the BV6 was donned with BF Goodrich sand tyres, which meant it performed better.
“The sensations were very positive and we drove at a good pace throughout the day. At the beginning, since we departed after 100 participants, we suffered bit due to the dust among cars, buggies, and lorries. But when we got to the sand, we were able to accelerate, drive faster, and overtake many people. Txema was once again a wonderful navigator and perfectly interpreted the roadbook, which was given to us 15 minutes before heading out”.
The driver from Lérida complimented the characteristics of the spacial stage and confessed that “we wanted the dunes stage to arrive because it’s where we are more competitive. We had a lot of fun in a very nice stage. At times it reminded me of the dunes in Mauritania”.
His final time was 5 hours, 36 minutes, and 46 seconds. This means that the Repsol Rally Team came 33rd in the stage, the same placement as in the tight provisional general ranking, in which ten drivers are featured within an hour and a half margin. They are in sixth place in the T1.2 category, reserved for 4X4 modified all-terrain diesel vehicles.
“Today we went fast, we enjoyed it, and did not have any problems, so we made it to the rest stage very happy. We are optimistic because there is still one very interesting week ahead of us with lots of sand, and this is where we perform best. We finished the first half of this Dakar and are hopeful, since, with more days like today, we are sure to gain positions in the general ranking”, said Isidre Esteve optimistically.
“Hoy hemos ido rápido, hemos disfrutado y no hemos tenido ningún problema, así que llegamos a la etapa de descanso muy contentos. Somos optimistas porque todavía queda una semana por delante muy atractiva y con mucha arena, que es donde nos encontramos mejor. Acabamos la primera mitad de este Dakar muy esperanzados, ya que, con más días como el de hoy, seguro que recuperaremos posiciones en la general”, sentenciaba un optimista Isidre Esteve.