It’s been a week or so since the dust settled (literally) and we can assess the results of the few Nissans who entered this year’s Dakar.
Both Jurgen Schroder and Shameer Variawa withdrew from the Dakar on Stage 5 of 10 due to its difficulty and repairs needed to the vehicles while on the stage causing them to time out of eligibility. Both were able to repair their vehicles and restart the event after “Rest Day”.
Shameer made it to Stage 8 where it hit something in the “fesh-fesh” that prevented him from continuing and ending his Dakar. His biggest hurdle he admits is the dunes and deep sand and has a lot of learning to do. His navigator also feels he has learned a lot after making some mistakes early on. The #429 Nissan however showed some real speed, running in the top 40 when healthy. This bodes well for Shameer’s future given this car has only been run a handful of times to date. Shameer also states that he will be back at the Dakar in this vehicle for 2020.
Jurgen Schroder also restarted after Rest Day and also was taken out before seeing the finish line. I had expected it to be Jurgen to make it to the finish in his Nissan if any did given his lengthy experience and prior Dakar finishes. Unfortunately engine issues ended their rally on Stage 6.
Last but certainly not least is the #419 of Thomas Bell. A Dakar rookie in a new car this South African team pressed on through some really tough circumstances including an accident on one of the transit roads that required Thomas to go to the local hospital, get checked out and medically cleared to reenter the race, get back in the race car and go on and finish the stage. The team finished 57th out of the 66 entrants to finish the event out of the original 99 starters in the care category.
So that’s it for this year. At least there were some Nissan entries and none were using “old” cars…all were in current generation T1 race cars which is good news. Also good news is the high level of business that Red Line Racing out of South Africa has for these cars…they are churning them out constantly and while not many go to Dakar they are spreading across the globe in a number of Rally Raid events due to their cost effectiveness. Red Line has new versions of the race Navarra/Frontier coming out later this year as well—one a solid axle rear end version and another a twin turbo version…should be great stuff!
Congrats to Thomas Bell and Red Line Motoring for the fantastic finish!