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Interview with Tomáš Tomeček: podium in Dakar

They call him Captain Solo or Desert Master. He describes himself as "old school" and a proponent of original values. Tomas Tomecek, for the third time, set out on a long journey to Dakar without a navigator and mechanic. Only he himself behind the wheel of a serial Tatra compared to modern electronics-laden specials. And once again he was on the podium.

TheAfrica Eco Race (AER) is a recreation of the original Dakar race. Thomas, who is a proponent of traditional values, switched to it after the Dakar Rally moved outside the African continent.

Tomáš, what was the impetus for you to start driving the truck alone?

"Twenty-five years ago, during my first participation in the 1995 Granada-Dakar Rally, I saw with my own eyes the actions of motorcycle racers, how sometimes their racing turns into a hard-earned result or, at worst, after a crash, into physical hardship. And in this context, it occurred to me at the time that I wanted to ride this long-distance rally alone in the cab of a truck, just like they did. Motorcyclists navigate and service their machine themselves and no one questions it. In a long-distance rally, where they ride a hundred kilometres a day on time through unfamiliar countryside and difficult terrain, the performance of the bikers is often beyond their capabilities. And I found it too "sterile" in the cab of the truck."

You started this year's AER with the new DEVINN additional lights. You've driven over 6,000 kilometres with them. Did the Czech lights hold up in the difficult Dakar race?"

Yes, the lights exceeded my expectations. I used them mainly on long crossings. Compared to the previous ones they shine very sharply into the distance, when testing on the factory floor I didn't find it so. I only realised in Africa that I had a short hall at home😊 I would definitely like to continue using them on a competition car."

Tomas, you navigate yourself, the tracks were new this year. You had four flat tires in the race and had to solve other punctures. What was the most difficult moment of this year's race for you?

"Probably the moment in the first stage when I lost the right path after three kilometres and couldn't find it. I crossed a turn and frantically searched for it instead of stopping and taking it easy. So I finished the first stage only eleventh."

Your Tatra is a production car with manual gearshift. You are competing in a category with modern specials that are now full of electronics and sensors. Instead of the three of you in the cab, it's just you. Despite all these handicaps, you came third. Unbelievable to me, but I'm asking anyway. Did this year's result meet your expectations?

"Yes, I did not expect such a result given the competition. The important thing was that we were happy to reach the Pink Lake in Dakar."

Tomáš, thank you for your answers and on behalf of DEVINN we wish you many more wonderful rally experiences and dreams come true.

Photo source: Motorsport revue

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