2011 Dakar: Honda Europe Halfway Report

2011 Dakar Rally

On the last day before the rest day at the 2011 Dakar Rally, Team Honda Europe were taking no chances, making sure that they all made it to the halfway point of the rally.

A day of rest is scheduled in Arica, in the north of Chili, close to the border of Peru. The Dakar Rally will then start heading back to Buenos Aires.

But some difficult stages still await the competitors. Saturday is the longest stage of the rally, and the loop around Copiapo could be decisive for the outcome.

For the Honda mechanics a rest day doesn’t exist. While the riders take care of their materials, do some washing, get a massage and prepare themselves for the second half, the Honda mechanics have a lot of work to do on the bikes.

All four Dakar Honda riders of the Team Honda Europe are in the race. Quinn Cody is on schedule with his 12th place overall and will of course try to make his way into the top ten.

Mechanics Marcel Bulten, Gerrit Polsvoort and Michel Reins make sure the Honda motorcycles are in perfect condition for the start of the next day. Bulten is responsible for the Honda bike of Quinn Cody.

Marcel Bulten (Team Honda Europe Dakar mechanic) says: "In 2009 we had some issues with the chainsliders, in 2010 some fuel problems like most of the teams, but this year things are fine. The new rear fuel tank is working fine.

"Of course we will do some small modifications when we come back from the Dakar. For Quinn we will install a slightly bigger front tank. You can tell he’s pushing hard. He uses far more tires and brake pads than the others, but still doesn’t hurt the engine. "

Alexey Naumov (Team Honda Europe Dakar) says: "It was a hard day. I felt better in the dunes compared to yesterday. I lost my way, went right instead of left and had to turn back to pick up two Dakar waypoints. It took me 30 or 40 minutes and I think I did an extra 100 kilometers in total.

"You had to stand up all the time on the bike, with all the fesh-fesh and stones. After I picked up the waypoints I overtook a lot of bikes, at the finish I was more or less at the same position as before I made that navigation error.”

Mirjam Pol (Team Honda Europe Dakar) says: "Until the first fuel stop things went great. No dust, I overtook some people. From the fuel stop to the finish I didn’t like it so much. I would have liked to see more dunes.

"Navigation was tricky sometimes, because we passed some of the tracks from the day before. The last few days were ok for me. With just a little more sleep I feel a lot better. It’s so important. Last year things kept going worse and worse, now I’m on my way up again."

Vadim Pritulyak (Team Honda Europe Dakar) says: "I feel good. No crashes yesterday, the dunes went ok. The stones are a problem for my wrist, as usual. My son is helping me with my equipment, I will get a good massage from Luuc, and then we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”

January 7 – Stage 6
Road section, 265 km – Special, 456 km

2011 Dakar Rally Results of Stage 6
13th position for Quinn Cody
Total time 005:58:01 Variation 00:22:34
64th position for Alexey Naumov
Total time 07:56:50 Variation 02:21:23
111th position for Vadim Pritulyak
Total time 11:16:11 Variation 05:39:54
65th position for Mirjam Pol
Total time 07:58:25 Variation 02:22:58

2011 Dakar Rally Team Honda Europe overall
12th position for Quinn Cody
Total time 24:14:51 Variation 01:34:31
49th position for Alexey Naumov
Total time 05:22:35 Variation 06:42:15
93th position for Vadim Pritulyak
Total time 12:45:39 Variation 14:05:19
82nd position for Mirjam Pol
Total time 10:44:05 Variation 12:03:45

Preview : Day 7 – Arica-Antofagsta
The longest stage of the rally. Two timed sections. A section of 40 kilometers will be very tough for the bikers. The finish of the first part will take place on the ocean’s shores diving down from the dunes. The second part the tracks are faster finishing on a racing track.