Carlos Checa struggles to adapt to the Dakar Rally. The fourth of the 1998 motorcycle world championship landed on the roof with his co-driver in an accident. Fortunately, the duo were unharmed.
This is not how Carlos Checa imagined his debut at the Dakar Rally. The former motorcycle racer lost an hour during his first participation in the toughest rally in the world on stage 1, and the 49-year-old spent another 40 minutes on the second day of the race. The third stage ended for the Spaniard lying on the roof.
The vehicle could no longer be started, Checa and his co-driver Ferran Alcayna had to be towed – without a door and without a windshield, and at temperatures just a little above freezing point. The team only arrived at the bivouac in the evening.
«We fell over at the beginning of the stage», Checa had to grin inevitably. “Ferran and I are fine. We want to move on, depending on whether the Optimus can be repaired. “
By the way: The MD Optimus is powered by a Chevrolet V8 engine with 405 hp.
As it turned out, the damage to the vehicle was more substantial than expected. Because spare parts had to be flown in from France, Checa was condemned to watch on Wednesday and Thursday.
“Despite the great and intensive work of the mechanics, the Optimus could not be completely repaired,” Checa annoyed. “Some parts that have to come from France are still needed. When they arrive we will finish the repairs and I’ll be back in the race. I hope to be able to compete in the last 6 stages. “
Checa can do that: In today’s sixth stage, which was canceled prematurely, he was back in the game. Former MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci proved with a stage win on Thursday that you can make headlines outside of the competition. “Danilo’s success is nice,” says Checa happily for the Italian. «He got the opportunity to drive for a really good team. It’s a winning team and it’s a great experience for him. “
The Spaniard is a two-time GP winner in the 500cc class and finished fourth in the 1998 World Championship with a Honda NSR 500. He now also works as a TV commentator.