Dakar lessons

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I’ve learned a lot about racing a car in Dakar. Many riders think the courses, so far, have been very difficult.

dakar2014-annie-garry-in-buggy_640x480But we feel the driving has been okay. Sure, very long days but not too tough. And the navigation worked perfectly. Garry didn’t have any problems at all driving – he used his head, chose the best tracks, no stucking in sand. He really has the capacity needed to finish Dakar.

The reason for us quitting was simply a technical matter, a minor glitch that caused a major breakdown. So unnecessary and unfair. But, that’s Dakar…

Garry: “This is what stopped us, a chaffed $50 external oil feed line to the oil cooler !!!!
If you have any, and I mean ANY weak links in either yourself, your race vehicle or your assistance team, preparations or strategy, Dakar WILL find them and your rally will be over!” 

Our white team truck #552 with Marco helping out on stage 4. 

dakar2014-s4-mecka-buggy_640x440 dakar2014-s4-buggy-marco-fix_640x440
Checking everything from top  … to bottom.

There are other severe conditions during this race, causing problems.
The weather has been extremly hot, around 40 C. Several contestants have suffered from heat exhaustion and dehydration. Some accidents probably are the consequenses. Even deaths have hit competitors, journalists and spectators lately.

A top biker #5 Chaleco Lopez fell from an edge in a river bed, the bike crashed, thus out of race. Luckily no bad bodily injuries.
He was my Honda team mate in Patagonia rally 2005.

Press and video clips

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A big daily newspaper and a magazine’s web page:


Svenska Dagbladet
“Feels like shit, we are so disappointed to quit the race. Reason for withdrawal: engine breakdown.”


Teknikens värld 2014-01-09 /web page/
The World of Technique
“Punctures have been a common problem for many competitiors this year, also för Annie. But what brought her and Garry down was a leaking oil hose. It caused a major damage in the engine and the mechanics had not enough time to fix it before next start. It is not allowed to change the engine in cars like in bikes.
This is the first time ever that Annie must abandon a race, this was her 6th participation in Dakar. The team had reached pos 74 in total when finishing stage 4 and was among the top in the SSV class.”
TeknikensVarld.se/2014/01/09/45504/annie-seel-brot-dakarrallyt (opens in new tab)

VIDEO, stage 4
By Marily Trincavelli Schwander “Mujeres Tuercas”, a friend and fan –

Day 5. Out of race

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The mechanics were still working this morning to repair the car. But we ran out of time, the start control closed at 9:05. 

Sadly, we are now out of race.
– Engine won’t turn. Piston rods big end ceased, overheated brakes etc. Cause of death: hole in oil line. –

smiley-big-cry_150Garry and me are sobbing and having the “post mortem” talk. He is devastated, this was his go for a dakar finish, and we know that we could have made it when it was up to our ability and race strategy. “The turtle” failed us as victim of the “fesh-fesh death”.
My first withdrawal ever.

dakar2014-byggy-repair-top_640So disappointing for both of us not to continue the race. Just because of a bloody little hole, that we fixed out there on the course. But later it caused the major engine breakdown.

dakar2014-byggy-repair-under_640Our mechanics had a very busy night as also our team partner world champion Nico Duclos was towed in with a broken gearbox.
The same problem hit Yasir Saedan earlier on this stage.

Garry and me slept only 2 hours but were ready to take off on stage 5 at 7:30. But the time was too short to make all repairs, it’s not allowed to change the whole engine like on bikes.
Below: Dakar rules 32P Engine change


We also had a coffee session with #320 Chicherit’s codriver Brucy – their car went up in flames completely.

So we’re better off, we still have a buggy (yet in pieces). 😉

VIDEOs by Marie Hessel (images are screenshots).
1) Annie tells about the terrible stage 4 at 3:20 in the morning, after 20 hrs riding in the car (swedish)
* Also on TheDakar.blogspot.se/2014/01/dakar-2014-annie-seel-efter-fjarde.html


2) Annie in the morning about failing to start stage 5 (swedish): “nobody gives up the dakar dream…”
* Also on TheDakar.blogspot.se/2014/01/dakar-2014-annie-seel-and-her-thoughts.html


Bye bye “Turtle buggy”! #366 crossed out.  And we are as cross as two sticks.