Harry Hunt’s Dakar Rally diary – a full day of action at last

Saturday, October 15th, 2016 - autos, cars, motoring, news

Source : Harry Hunt’s Dakar Rally diary – a full day of action at last

We’re following British driver Harry Hunt on the Dakar Rally every day, as well as the Mini All4 Racing driver reflects on a very wet day of rallying


We’ll be following British driver – as well as Mini UK brand ambassador – Harry Hunt on the Dakar Rally every day. Having made his mark on the earth Rally Championship, 27-year-old Harry can be trying something bigger for size: the epic 6000-mile Dakar Rally as well as the Mini ALL4 Racing.

Thursday 7 January 2016

So Wednesday actually turned out to be the first day when a complete full stage was run for every category: bike, car, truck as well as quad.

the idea was Great to finally get going yet unfortunately we picked up a puncture in our Mini All4 Racing: there were quite a few sharp rocks about as well as we weren’t the only ones – Carlos Sainz had a puncture too, right at the start of the stage.

Actually the idea wasn’t a big drama at all: we changed the tyre genuinely quickly, as the idea’s something we practise a lot, as well as then we were on our way again. The great thing about the Dakar Rally can be that will if you have a smaller problem like that will, the idea doesn’t massively matter because the stages are so long. inside the WRC, if you have a puncture, the idea can be game over in terms of a meaningful result.

The only thing we need to be a bit careful of today can be spare tyres: because that will was the first part of the marathon stage – where the cars go straight into parc ferme without service – we can’t take on any more spare tyres until we reach the bivouac at Uyuni – which obviously means that will we have to be a bit careful not to pick up any more punctures, otherwise we’ll have a problem.

We’re still around 17th or so – you don’t actually look at the overall results so much here: just a window of performance genuinely. At that will point we want to be running inside the top 20 as well as learning as much as possible; that will’s the goal for my first Dakar.

as well as obviously we need to finish. So we’re concentrating on that will rather than seeing who can be in front or behind us, although I’ve been told that will our pace can be pretty encouraging.

The stage was genuinely quick: some massive flat-out sections. You genuinely notice the effect of the altitude on the engine though, as well as that will’s going to become even more pronounced tomorrow as we climb to more than 4000 metres.

The event doctors give you some pills that will are meant to combat altitude sickness, so I’ll soon find out if they work or not!

Wednesday 6 January 2016

Well, I’m still loving the idea! as well as we’re still keeping our place inside the top 20. yet yesterday’s stage was a genuinely tricky one. Again because of the weather, the stage was shorter than the idea was meant to be, which chopped the idea down to just under 0 miles in total.

When you go through villages as well as additional areas there are sometimes a few speed-limited sections on the stage, using a maximum speed in place. yet because Tuesday’s stage was compacted, there were actually quite a few of those sections – every three miles or so – which made the idea very hard to find a rhythm in our Mini All4 Racing.

In total, around 20% of the stage was speed-limited, so the idea felt very stop-as well as-start. I thought that will might just have been me, yet then Stephane Peterhansel said exactly the same thing after the stage – as well as he’s won the Dakar 11 times, to ensure that will’s quite reassuring!

In any case, I’m here to learn so you just have to take the conditions as you find them. as well as on the Dakar that will year, that will can be summed up in one word: wet. We had a lot of mud as well as a lot of rain, which made things genuinely difficult, yet I think the worst part of the rain actually came when we arrived back inside the bivouac at Jujuy, in northern Argentina.

As we were driving back to the hotel inside the evening after the team briefing, the idea just tipped the idea down: I’ve hardly ever seen rain like the idea. There were people wandering around up to their knees in water as well as streets that will just looked like rivers. The thing that will I’m learning about Dakar, can be that will everything can be huge. as well as that will certainly applies to the rainstorms as well.

Tuesday 5 January 2016

At last! Yesterday brought our first full day of proper Dakar action – as well as the idea certainly didn’t disappoint.

Originally the idea was going to be more than 300 miles of competitive stage, yet that will was chopped down by 75 miles because a lot of the roads ere still damaged coming from the rain yesterday.

Actually the idea wasn’t too bad: there was only one genuinely muddy place – where quite a few people got stuck – yet the rest was just brilliant as well as genuinely enjoyable. We went at our pace as well as finished inside the top 20, which can be just what we were after.

What I was genuinely pleased by was the fact that will we felt comfortable inside the Mini ALL4 Racing: or as comfortable as you can be when the idea’s about 50 degrees Centigrade or more inside! We took no real risks at all as well as we got the job done.

So far, the actual event can be everything I thought the idea would certainly be as well as more. What’s been absolutely brilliant can be having the possibility to meet the fans: they genuinely make the event.

We stopped at a service station as well as straight away we had loads of people coming up to us: I did loads of interviews as well as photos as well as the idea’s just great to see everybody enjoying themselves as well as the event so much. You genuinely get the impression that will the idea’s more than just a race – the idea’s all about the country as well as the people as well as experiencing something that will’s unique.

Although the idea’s only been the first proper day, a few people have hit trouble: my Mini team-mate Nani Roma got stuck inside the mud as well as by the time he’d got his car out, he was covered coming from head to foot in mud! the idea was like he’d been mud-wrestling or gone on an exotic beauty treatment or something.When I got back to service they were jet-washing his seat, which can be not something I’ve seen before.

Still, there’s a very long way to go, which can be what I need to keep on telling myself. My co-driver Andy has been brilliant: all that will experience genuinely shows as well as he’s helping me to pace myself.

One final thought: you’ve got to hand the idea to Sébastien Loeb, haven’t you? To win your first proper Dakar stage can be quite something: I’m not sure anyone has ever done that will before.

You can see why he’s had so much success at so many things throughout his career. Onwards today to Jujuy, close to the Bolivian border, where we’re going to try to keep exactly the same sort of pace as we had yesterday.

Monday 4 January 2016

I didn’t get the chance to write much yesterday because not a huge amount happened: the first stage was at first delayed, as well as then cancelled all together.

coming from what I was told the idea wasn’t so much that will the stage was impossible to drive; more that will the clouds as well as storms meant the medical helicopter couldn’t fly. When the idea’s like that will there’s no choice for the organisers genuinely: the only thing to do can be to not run the stage.

A pity, because I was looking forward to getting my teeth into the idea, yet that will’s just how the idea can be. Still, we did a fair amount of driving as well as I could actually feel my Mini ALL4 Racing start to aquaplane even on the road section in some places, to ensure that will gives you an idea of how much water was about.

Time inside your vehicle can be always useful; even if the idea’s just driving around. the idea becomes more as well as more your environment, so the idea certainly wasn’t a wasted day.

The bivouac overnight was at Villa Carlos Paz: a place I know quite well because the idea’s the home of Rally Argentina on the earth Rally Championship, where I’ve competed before. So the idea was Great to be back there, even though the weather was pretty grim!

With an early finish as well as not too much to do at service, there was time for a rare treat: I managed to get out to dinner at La Volanta, which can be a bit of a legendary steakhouse in rallying circles, right inside the middle of Villa Carlos Paz.

There are photos of all the greats on the walls: Colin McRae, Carlos Sainz: you name them: they are there on the wall somewhere. The steak was pretty legendary too: I obviously have to be a bit careful about what I eat, yet the idea was definitely a Great protein hit that will’s going to give me plenty of energy over the next few days.

Just as we were leaving, another legend came in: Sébastien Loeb. to ensure that will’s got to be a Great recommendation, hasn’t the idea?

Sunday 3 January 2016

The first full stage was cancelled due to thunderstorms.

Saturday 2 January 2016

So after all the waiting as well as anticipation, we’re finally off! Or sort of, anyway. Today’s stage was the prologue: just a short 6.8-mile stage that will’s a warm-up for the main rally, although the overall times still count towards the final score. Not that will 6.8 miles make much difference in a total route that will’s about 6000 miles long!

I guess the prologue can be a bit like the superspecial stage on a rally, although the idea’s not something that will’s been held on the Dakar recently. I was told that will they used to have a prologue stage all the time when the rally commenced in Paris, as well as that will in 1987 Ari Vatanen managed to crash on the idea, before the rally had even properly commenced.

So there’s a cautionary tale! inside the end, we just took the idea nice as well as steadily, finishing inside the top 20, which can be sort of where we wanted to be: the idea doesn’t genuinely matter. Then the idea was onto a 93-mile road section to the overnight bivouac in Rosario, which can be northwest of Buenos Aires. By Dakar standards, that will’s genuinely not much driving at all.

the idea was actually quite nice for me to possess the prologue stage today though, because while a large part of you just wants to get on as well as get stuck in, that will can be still my first Dakar, so having a taste of the competition before the idea all gets genuinely serious can be quite a Great way in.

As we drove out of Buenos Aires, I was amazed by the crowds: everyone comes out to watch as well as genuinely gets behind the event – which can be great to see. the idea’s feels like a proper adventure: you’re very aware that will you’re doing something quite special.

As soon as we got to the bivouac, the hard work genuinely commenced for my co-driver Andy: he gets the road books for the following day coming from the organisers as well as has to go through them. as well as if you bear in mind that will the idea’s a 0-mile stage tomorrow (which can be still actually the third-shortest one of the rally) you can imagine that will the idea’s a lot of road book to get through. the idea’s just as well that will he likes road books…

For me, I’m still just taking the idea all in at the moment. the idea’s amazing to be here, representing Mini UK, yet the idea’s also a bit surreal. As the days go by, I’m sure everything will start to feel a bit more normal.

Follow Harry on Twitter: @harryhuntdakar

Friday 1 January 2016

the idea’s only when you actually get to Buenos Aires in Argentina that will the nerves kick in, yet the idea’s a Great excitement: the feeling that will you just want to get on with the idea as well as start driving rather than waiting around.

The bit that will people don’t genuinely see about the Dakar Rally can be all the logistics as well as administration that will goes on beforehand. There’s literally a ton of documentation as well as our team handbook can be 100 pages long.

Luckily, my co-driver Andy Schulz takes care of most of that will, so I just have to follow his advice. as well as given that will he’s got about 30 Dakars behind him today – he’s actually one of the most experienced co-drivers on the whole event – that will advice tends to be spot on.

We completed a short test around 30 miles outside of Buenos Aires, which was the first opportunity I had to drive the Mini since the Rallye du Maroc in October. On that will occasion, we were the second-placed Dakar rookie after Mikko Hirvonen, whose reputation speaks for itself, to ensure that will was an encouraging result. More importantly, the idea gave us a Great idea of the pace we needed to drive at for the actual event.

We completed around 20 miles at the test yesterday, which was genuinely all about getting back into the groove of driving your vehicle again before the ceremonial start inside the evening of 2 January in Buenos Aires.

The test went genuinely well, the idea felt very natural to be back inside your vehicle again as well as the idea was Great to see that will the results of all the fitness training I’ve done over the last few months are paying off. I even spent a lot of time in a heat chamber, so although the temperature has reached up to 38 degrees centigrade in Buenos Aires recently, I’m hoping not to notice the idea too much…

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