This car is nothing like those I’ve driven before, and tomorrow will be a fantastic opportunity to continue learning.
Isidre Esteve has finally taken the new Sodicars BV6 prototype he will be using in the upcoming Dakar Rally for a test drive. The Repsol Rally Team rider competed in the prologue stage of the rally with “a good feeling, even though I still have a lot to learn“. Tomorrow, he will take off from 36th place to start the second stage of this scored trial for the Spanish Off-Road Rally Championship and the Cross-Country Rally World Cup.
The Baja Aragón competition kicked off with a 5.8-mile (9.3-kilometre) timed race through the outskirts of Teruel. Isidre Esteve faced the challenge with the understandable prudence of someone who is officially baptising his new project, the most ambitious he’s ever undertaken since he began racing cars. The driver from Oliana gradually moved up the race and ended up covering the distance in six minutes and 11 seconds. This time will allow him to start the first stage of the Baja Aragón race tomorrow in 36th place.
“Naturally, the first stretch of the competition is always different from the test, but I’ve got good feelings from it. It’s been a nice prologue, with some speed at the beginning. We strayed into a field at the beginning but soon got back on the track and barely lost any time. Toward the middle of the special race, we ran into a lot of dust and we took our feet off the pedal a bit so as not to risk it. The most important thing is that the car is in perfect shape to race in tomorrow’s two specials“, Esteve explained.
Though race times aren’t taken into account in terms of general qualification, it is worth mentioning that Isidre Esteve and his co-driver Txema Villalobos have marked the 11th best time for the T1.2 category (4×4 modified diesel off-roader), a mere three seconds short of qualifying for the top 10 with their Sodicars Racing BV6 prototype, fitted with a 3-litre, 335-hp BMW biturbo diesel engine with a tube frame and sequential manual transmission and adapted hand controls on the steering wheel.
“This prototype is nothing like the cars I’ve driven before and its sequential transmission and horsepower demand a lot more work. There are times I feel we could go faster, but you have to go slower because the car behaves differently. We need some time to adapt. After that, we’ll start improving over time. I still need to learn to do many things automatically and tomorrow’s going to be a fantastic day to improve these skills”, the Repsol and Onyx Seguros driver says enthusiastically.
This Saturday, the contestants will face the longest race of the 2017 Baja Aragón competition, which consists of a timed race with two specials of 135 and 83 miles (217 and 134 kilometres) each. This stage of the race will allow Isidre Esteve to “get more race time under his belt, get a better grasp of how the car works, and try to get the most out of it. We know it’s still early, that the car has a lot of potential, and that we have to learn more before being able to squeeze the most out of it”.