The Phoenix have risen!
Tomas Ourednicek and David Kripal have been through some extremely tough and very emotional days. They were to return to Morocco Desert Challenge, where day won their very first race together in 2017 – and suffered a horror accident a year later. It took months of hard work to be able to rebuild their racing car almost from scratch, but finally, the brand new Ford Ranger Phoenix was born, and Tomas and David managed to complete the first two stages of the biggest African Desert Rally. Their official result is yet unknown, but they finished both stages in the top 10.
„We’ve been through very tough days! Unfortunately, our car was ready in the very last moment, and since we had no time for a proper test, we are facing all the teething problems now. We worked an awful lot on the car before the start, but still it seemed like we couldn’t make it. Just before the start, we found a huge oil leakage, we suspected it to be the gearbox but it turned out to be the engine. Finally, we were able to start, but it seemed quite unlikely that we could reach the finish of the stage. There was such a thick smoke coming from under the bonnet that at a CP we were warned that the car was on fire… It wasn’t, thank God, but we could hardly breathe and couldn’t see anything. I owe a big thank you to our friend Maik Willems for choosing this bright orange colour for his car, I was just following the orange point when I didn’t see anything, it helped a lot!
In the bivouac, our mechanics managed to find and repair the engine problem, and also the windscreen wiper, that was not working. I am extremely grateful to our mechanics Kuba Mikulok and Jirka Sivek for their fantastic work! They slept maybe 5 hours altogether in the past three days but managed to solve problem after problem. Just like my co-driver David, who besides his normal duties also worked a lot on the car. However hard the past days have been, I feel blessed to have such a great team around me and to be in race. For us, now each day is a new goal, we just want to finish without any pressure for result,” Tomas Ourednicek said after the second stage of the rally.
Morocco Desert Challenge continues on Monday with 372 km long third stage between Smara and Assa. The finish of the rally will take place on Saturday, 20 April, in Saidia, on the shores of Mediterranean Sea.
Video of the drama before the start:
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.