Harry Hunt’s Dakar Rally diary – here comes the rain again

Monday, October 10th, 2016 - autos, cars, motoring, news

Source : Harry Hunt’s Dakar Rally diary – here comes the rain again

Mini ALL4 Racing We’re following British driver Harry Hunt on the Dakar Rally every day, along with also also the Mini All4 Racing driver reflects on very wet day of rallying

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We’ll be following British driver – along with also also 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 is usually trying something bigger for size: the epic 6000-mile Dakar Rally along with also also the Mini ALL4 Racing.

Wednesday 6 January 2016

Well, I’m still loving This kind of! along with also also we’re still keeping our place from the top 20. although yesterday’s stage was a actually tricky one. Again because of the weather, the stage was shorter than This kind of was meant to be, which chopped This kind of down to just under 0 miles in total.

When you go through villages along with also also various other areas there are sometimes a few speed-limited sections on the stage, having a maximum speed in place. although because Tuesday’s stage was compacted, there were actually quite a few of those sections – every three miles or so – which made This kind of very hard to find a rhythm in our Mini All4 Racing.

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

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

As we were driving back to the hotel from the evening after the team briefing, This kind of just tipped This kind of down: I’ve hardly ever seen rain like This kind of. There were people wandering around up to their knees in water along with also also streets that will just looked like rivers. The thing that will I’m learning about Dakar, is usually that will everything is usually huge. along with also also 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 – along with also also This kind of certainly didn’t disappoint.

Originally This kind of was going to be more than 300 miles of competitive stage, although that will was chopped down by 75 miles because a lot of the roads ere still damaged via the rain yesterday.

Actually This kind of wasn’t too bad: there was only one actually muddy place – where quite a few people got stuck – although the rest was just brilliant along with also also actually enjoyable. We went at our pace along with also also finished from the top 20, which is usually just what we were after.

What I was actually pleased by was the fact that will we felt comfortable from the Mini ALL4 Racing: or as comfortable as you can be when This kind of’s about 50 degrees Centigrade or more inside! We took no real risks at all along with also also we got the job done.

So far, the actual event is usually everything I thought This kind of could be along with also also more. What’s been absolutely brilliant is usually having the possibility to meet the fans: they actually make the event.

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

Although This kind of’s only been the first proper day, a few people have hit trouble: my Mini team-mate Nani Roma got stuck from the mud along with also also by the time he’d got his car out, he was covered via head to foot in mud! This kind of 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 is usually not something I’ve seen before.

Still, there’s a very long way to go, which is usually what I need to keep on telling myself. My co-driver Andy has been brilliant: all that will experience actually shows along with also also he’s helping me to pace myself.

One final thought: you’ve got to hand This kind of to Sébastien Loeb, haven’t you? To win your first proper Dakar stage is usually 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 currently 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, along with also also then cancelled all together.

via what I was told This kind of wasn’t so much that will the stage was impossible to drive; more that will the clouds along with also also storms meant the medical helicopter couldn’t fly. When This kind of’s like that will there’s no choice for the organisers actually: the only thing to do is usually to not run the stage.

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

Time from the automobile is usually always useful; even if This kind of’s just driving around. This kind of becomes more along with also also more your environment, so This kind of certainly wasn’t a wasted day.

The bivouac overnight was at Villa Carlos Paz: a place I know quite well because This kind of’s the home of Rally Argentina on the earth Rally Championship, where I’ve competed before. So This kind of was not bad to be back there, even though the weather was pretty grim!

With an early finish along with also also 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 is usually a bit of a legendary steakhouse in rallying circles, right from 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, although This kind of was definitely a not bad 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’s got to be a not bad recommendation, hasn’t This kind of?

Sunday 3 January 2016

The first full stage was cancelled due to thunderstorms.

Saturday 2 January 2016

So after all the waiting along with also also 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 is usually a bit like the superspecial stage on a rally, although This kind of’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 started out in Paris, along with also also that will in 1987 Ari Vatanen managed to crash on This kind of, before the rally had even properly started out.

So there’s a cautionary tale! from the end, we just took This kind of nice along with also also steadily, finishing from the top 20, which is usually sort of where we wanted to be: This kind of doesn’t actually matter. Then This kind of was onto a 93-mile road section to the overnight bivouac in Rosario, which is usually northwest of Buenos Aires. By Dakar standards, that will’s actually not much driving at all.

This kind of was actually quite nice for me to develop the prologue stage today though, because while a large part of you just wants to get on along with also also get stuck in, This kind of is usually still my first Dakar, so having a taste of the competition before This kind of all gets actually serious is usually quite a not bad way in.

As we drove out of Buenos Aires, I was amazed by the crowds: everyone comes out to watch along with also also actually gets behind the event – which is usually great to see. This kind of’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 actually started out for my co-driver Andy: he gets the road books for the following day via the organisers along with also also has to go through them. along with also also if you bear in mind that will This kind of’s a 0-mile stage tomorrow (which is usually still actually the third-shortest one of the rally) you can imagine that will This kind of’s a lot of road book to get through. This kind of’s just as well that will he likes road books…

For me, I’m still just taking This kind of all in at the moment. This kind of’s amazing to be here, representing Mini UK, although This kind of’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

This kind of’s only when you actually get to Buenos Aires in Argentina that will the nerves kick in, although This kind of’s a not bad excitement: the feeling that will you just want to get on with This kind of along with also also start driving rather than waiting around.

The bit that will people don’t actually see about the Dakar Rally is usually all the logistics along with also also administration that will goes on beforehand. There’s literally a ton of documentation along with also also our team handbook is usually 100 pages long.

Luckily, my co-driver Andy Schulz takes care of most of that will, so I just have to follow his advice. along with also also given that will he’s got about 30 Dakars behind him currently – 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 was an encouraging result. More importantly, This kind of gave us a not bad idea of the pace we needed to drive at for the actual event.

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

The test went actually well, This kind of felt very natural to be back from the automobile again along with also also This kind of was not bad 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 This kind of too much…

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