South African Dakar rookies Shameer Variawa and Zaheer Bodhanya endured their toughest day of Dakar 2019 yet, only to end up stranded in the dunes after their SVR Red Lined Nissan Navara developed a gearbox problem on the stage from Arequipa to San Juan de Marcona. The intrepid crew however managed to hitch a tow out of the desert and arrived at the Bivouac at 3am, where the team set about to repair the Navara in an effort to get going again Monday morning.
“Today was the toughest day of Dakar so far,” Shameer explained. We had a decent run for the first half, but then we came into that same canyon that caused all the trouble last week and cars had rolled and got stuck — it was chaotic again and we just had to wait for the road to be cleared for a gap to get out of the stage. “Then with 50km to go, the car stopped — we think it’s gearbox failure but let’s see once they have stripped it out.
“We thought it was all over, but we managed to get towed out of the stage — we missed a waypoint but we will now do our best to fix the car and be out again — it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings, but now we need to sleep!” Monday’s seventh stage is a sandy 323km loop around San Juan de Marcona before Dakar heads north towards the finish in Lima on Thursday.