The 2014 Dakar started one week ago and just like every year has taken its toll on all competitors.
Note able Robby Gordon set out in a new vehicle modeled after his SST program. The car was developed up until the last minute and then logistics added more delays to the delivery from the USA to Argentina. It hasn’t been smooth for Robby this year but his spirits are amazingly up. Robby pushes on relentlessly and quitting does’t seem to be a feasible option.
The first 3 stages ended as disasters due to overheating and fuel vapor lock. Vapor lock happens when the fuel inside the fuel lines boils and becomes useless for the engine. Once that happens the engine shuts off and all that can be done is drain the lines to get rid of the fumes and let cooler fuel pass or simply wait for things to cool down. It turns out that the fuel the team was using was not formulated to the specifications needed. That problem is isolated and under control but the car was still overheating.
Today during rest day the team set out to re-configure the entire cooling system so that the car can actually be driven hard without overheating. Some of the photos suggest that the rear mounted radiator will move to the front.
In the other Toyo camp of BJ Baldwin resources are now available in double capacity since teammate Guerlain Chicherit’s car burned to the ground earlier in the race. Things have not been easy for team owner Eric Vigouroux but the same optimistic Dakar mindsets prevails in the camp.
El Martillo is listed out of the race on the Dakar website leaving the US car efforts limited to Robby Gordon and BJ Baldwin.
Lets hope for some stage wins from here on out for any of our US representatives at the 2014 Dakar.
Photos by: Willy Weyens, Mini X-Raid Agency