Harry Hunt’s Dakar Rally diary – moving up the leaderboard

Sunday, September 18th, 2016 - autos, cars, motoring, news

Source : Harry Hunt’s Dakar Rally diary – moving up the leaderboard

Mini ALL4 Racing We’re following British driver Harry Hunt on the Dakar Rally every day, as well as the Mini All4 Racing driver has just enjoyed his best stage yet


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 globe Rally Championship, 27-year-old Harry is usually trying something bigger for size: the epic 6000-mile Dakar Rally as well as the Mini ALL4 Racing.

Friday 8 January 2016

Thursday’s stage went genuinely well: we were 12th overall, which was a fantastic result in which moved us into the top 15!

I’m genuinely pleased, because the level of competition here is usually immense as well as we all know the difficulty of the rally: people don’t call in which ‘the toughest rally from the globe’ just for fun.

The biggest challenge for many people as we crossed into Bolivia was the altitude. This particular year, we reached 4600 metres, which is usually pretty high as well as there were a few people taking oxygen to help breathe better.

Luckily I felt fine: those altitude sickness pills obviously worked! as well as my Mini All4 Racing was bullet-proof as well, which is usually just what you needed after the marathon stage. I’ve been genuinely pleased to see in which I’ve not suffered too much physically, which is usually always a bit of a concern when you go into a rally in which is usually as demanding as This particular one. although so far, I’ve been feeling OK as we start coming up to the halfway point.

as well as in which’s actually the craziest thing of all. We’re not even at the halfway mark although in which already feels like we’ve been driving for a very long time: we’re probably at the point where we’ve covered about the equivalent of half of a World Rally Championship season.

in which’s the most epic thing about This particular whole rally : the sheer scale of in which all. I’m so impressed by the way in which Mini as well as the X Raid team which prepares my car approach things – dealing with the logistics of an event like This particular one is usually a challenge in itself.

Saturday’s stage is usually the longest of the entire rally, so I’m genuinely looking forward to in which. Without a doubt, This particular is usually the biggest adventure of my life so far. There aren’t many motorsport events you can do where you have to look out for passing llamas…

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.

in which was Great to finally get going although 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 in which wasn’t a big drama at all: we changed the tyre genuinely quickly, as in which’s something we practise a lot, as well as then we were on our way again. The great thing about the Dakar Rally is usually in which if you have a little problem like in which, in which doesn’t massively matter because the stages are so long. from the WRC, if you have a puncture, in which can be game over in terms of a meaningful result.

The only thing we need to be a bit careful of today is usually spare tyres: because This particular 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 in which 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 This particular point we want to be running from the top 20 as well as learning as much as possible; in which’s the goal for my first Dakar.

as well as obviously we need to finish. So we’re concentrating on in which rather than seeing who is usually in front or behind us, although I’ve been told in which our pace is usually 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 in which’s going to become even more pronounced tomorrow as we climb to more than 4000 metres.

The event doctors give you some pills in which 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 in which! as well as we’re still keeping our place from the top 20. although yesterday’s stage was a genuinely tricky one. Again because of the weather, the stage was shorter than in which was meant to be, which chopped in which 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, that has 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 in which very hard to find a rhythm in our Mini All4 Racing.

In total, around 20% of the stage was speed-limited, so in which felt very stop-as well as-start. I thought in which might just have been me, although then Stephane Peterhansel said exactly the same thing after the stage – as well as he’s won the Dakar 11 times, in order in which’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 This particular year, in which 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, 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, in which just tipped in which down: I’ve hardly ever seen rain like in which. There were people wandering around up to their knees in water as well as streets in which just looked like rivers. The thing in which I’m learning about Dakar, is usually in which everything is usually huge. as well as in which 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 in which certainly didn’t disappoint.

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

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

What I was genuinely pleased by was the fact in which we felt comfortable from the Mini ALL4 Racing: or as comfortable as you can be when in which’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 is usually everything I thought in which would likely be as well as more. What’s been absolutely brilliant is usually 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 in which’s just great to see everybody enjoying themselves as well as the event so much. You genuinely get the impression in which in which’s more than just a race – in which’s all about the country as well as the people as well as experiencing something in which’s unique.

Although in which’s only been the first proper day, a few people have hit trouble: my Mini team-mate Nani Roma got stuck from the mud as well as by the time he’d got his car out, he was covered by head to foot in mud! in which 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 in which experience genuinely shows as well as he’s helping me to pace myself.

One final thought: you’ve got to hand in which 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 in which 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.

by what I was told in which wasn’t so much in which the stage was impossible to drive; more in which the clouds as well as storms meant the medical helicopter couldn’t fly. When in which’s like in which there’s no choice for the organisers genuinely: the only thing to do is usually to not run the stage.

A pity, because I was looking forward to getting my teeth into in which, although in which’s just how in which is usually. 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, in order in which gives you an idea of how much water was about.

Time from the vehicle is usually always useful; even if in which’s just driving around. in which becomes more as well as more your environment, so in which certainly wasn’t a wasted day.

The bivouac overnight was at Villa Carlos Paz: a place I know quite well because in which’s the home of Rally Argentina on the globe Rally Championship, where I’ve competed before. So in which 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 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 in which was definitely a Great protein hit in which’s going to give me plenty of energy over the next few days.

Just as we were leaving, another legend came in: Sébastien Loeb. in order in which’s got to be a Great recommendation, hasn’t in which?

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 in which’s a warm-up for the main rally, although the overall times still count towards the final score. Not in which 6.8 miles make much difference in a total route in which’s about 6000 miles long!

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

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

in which 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 as well as get stuck in, This particular is usually still my first Dakar, so having a taste of the competition before in which all gets genuinely serious is usually 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 is usually great to see. in which’s feels like a proper adventure: you’re very aware in which 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 by the organisers as well as has to go through them. as well as if you bear in mind in which in which’s a 0-mile stage tomorrow (which is usually still actually the third-shortest one of the rally) you can imagine in which in which’s a lot of road book to get through. in which’s just as well in which he likes road books…

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

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

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

Luckily, my co-driver Andy Schulz takes care of most of in which, so I just have to follow his advice. as well as given in which he’s got about 30 Dakars behind him today – he’s actually one of the most experienced co-drivers on the whole event – in which 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 in which occasion, we were the second-placed Dakar rookie after Mikko Hirvonen, whose reputation speaks for itself, in order in which was an encouraging result. More importantly, in which 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 the vehicle again before the ceremonial start from the evening of 2 January in Buenos Aires.

The test went genuinely well, in which felt very natural to be back from the vehicle again as well as in which was Great to see in which 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 in which too much…

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