Shameer Variawa and Zaheer Bodhanya’s Dakar baptism of fire continued on Tuesday as the South African rookies endured another adventurous day aboard their SVR Red Lined Nissan Navara. The intrepid duo struggled with navigation on Monday’s opening stage but fought back strong on Tuesday, only to suffer a few technical challenges late in the day.
“Today was a tough one!” Variawa admitted. “We had a good run to start with, but then we had a puncture after trying to pass guys and lost time to change the flat. “After that we made up plenty places, but about four kilos from the finish, we stalled going down a steep dune and struggled for almost an hour to get the car going again. “All in all the car was great — we may have lost a little time today but we finished and that’s the most important thing — we are still in the race!”
“Our biggest problem is the dust — we started well back because of our rookie seeding and now we find ourselves passing all the time and often it’s pretty hair raising with such little visibility in the dust of the car ahead. “It’s a pity but today’s issue means we will have to do it all again tomorrow, but an even greater pity is that we really have not been able to show what the car is capable of. “So we will be patient — this is not a one-day game!”
In spite of their challenges, Variawa and Bodhanya ended up 68th on day 2 as they moved up from 75th to 67th overall.
Wednesday’s third day sees competitors racing 331km of the 799km run through the arid wastes between San Juan de Marcona and Arequipa, including an ominous new dune challenge called Acari for the first time.