Stage 12: Haradh – Qiddiya
17 January, 2020
Ourednicek and Kripal brings Ford home after final stage drama
12th and last stage of the 42nd edition of Dakar Rally from Haradh to Qiddiya was shortened, however, problems didn’t avoid the crew of Ultimate Dakar. Czech Republic’s Tomas Ourednicek and David Kripal had to cope with a cooler failure and gearbox worries. They finished the last timed section with 31st time and the rally in 37th position.
The organisers had to shorten the last special stage, originally 374 km long, to a mere 167 km due to construction works. This should have made life easier for Tomas and David, but some problems on their faithful Ford Ranger that has endured so much during the past two weeks gave them some last-minute worries with the finish line already in sight. It all started with the main cooling fan not working in the morning, but thanks to the help of South Racing they were able to start in the last stage.
“After the fan problem, we decided to drive very carefully – especially when we saw several cars and trucks broken. It’s a horrible feeling on the last day. At the end, there was a special race, the Qiddiya Grand Prix, the result of which was not included in the classification but the penalties were and it was compulsory to complete it. It was very bumpy with a lot of dust, we just wanted to get through it without damaging the car, so I drove rather slowly. Before the podium, while we were waiting we noticed that we were losing oil from the gearbox, so we felt extremely lucky to have been able to finish the race. The podium ceremony was amazing, maybe the most spectacular I’ve ever seen, we really enjoyed it. We are very happy that we finished this Dakar and would like to say thanks to all of those who supported us through this long and eventful journey,” Tomas said in Qiddiya.
Tomas and David leave Saudi Arabia early morning on Saturday, while their mechanics take the team’s vehicles to the port of Jeddah before returning to Europe.
About the team
Racing career of Tomas Ourednicek started back in 2008 when he became the co-driver of Miroslav Zapletal. The crew finished in a superb 7th position (3rd in category T1.1) in their first Dakar together and went on to win the Hungarian and the Czech Championship title as well as some excellent results in the World Cup in the next months. Despite suffering a big crash during the 2010 edition of the Dakar Rally they worked their way back to the elite, finishing 4th in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies in 2011.
After starting (and finishing) in trucks in the 2012 edition of the Dakar and a short break in 2013, Ourednicek decided to return to the tracks for the 2014 season, but this time at the steering wheel. As the vehicle, he opted for a Hummer H3 EVO and he finished second in the FIA Central European Zone Championship right in his debut year. Two years (and as many category championship titles) later, he decided to take another step forward, and from the beginning of the 2017 season, he drives a Ford Ranger Dakar under the flag of South Racing Central Europe.
With his new co-driver David Kripal they scored a victory in their first ever race together, Morocco Desert Challenge, the biggest rally-raid event in Africa, in April 2017. Due to an accident of Kripal, the crew couldn’t take part in as many World Cup events as they wanted, but still they were able to finish 8th in HunGarian Baja and be among the best 15 in the two biggest events of the World Cup, Baja Aragon and Rallye OiLibya du Maroc.
In 2018 they finished their first Dakar together in 33rd position after struggling with technical problems for most of the race. Following their horror accident in April 2018, in the 2019 edition of Dakar Rally they scored their best stage result so far, a 15th place, and finished 17th overall.