WhatDakar 2020 Day 4 Report
WhereAl’Ula, Saudi Arabia
WhenWednesday 8 January 2020

Ten punctures in a day for Red-Lined Navaras

“Tonight we are going to dream of tyres, tyres, tyres; thick pea soup dust, rocks and the pitch black freezing desert night,” a dusty and exhausted Sabertooth Red-Lined Nissan Navara pilot Thomas Bell grumbled as he and navigator Patrick McMurren headed off in search of a few hours of precious sleep in a busy Dakar 2020 bivouac at Al’Ula Saudi Arabia on Wednesday evening. “We came here looking for adventure and we got it in spades — we were in or around the car for fourteen hours — this route is ridiculously rough — we went through five tyres today and we are not alone in that! 

“Our day started well enough and we had very good pace early on, but it became terribly dusty and we were just unlucky with the rocks and had three punctures straight after each other and used all our spares, so we're doing our best to prevent another in those arduous dusty conditions and sadly luck was not on our side. “Fortunately a rival lent us a wheel and we were able to continue, but then we had a fifth and a sixth flat and had to wait into the desert night for our support truck,” the Dubai-based Englishman explained.

“So we drove the last 100km in the pitch dark — fortunately we are prepared for that with great lighting, Dakar voided its curfew tonight and we get a prepared route book in the morning so Thomas can sleep a little, but most importantly, our Sabertooth Red-Lined Navara is still running like a dream. “Still the team will work through the night to be ready for tomorrow — don’t envy them in the freezing cold, but please excuse me — I'm off to bed!”

It was not much easier for Pretoria crew Hennie de Klerk and Johann Smalberger in the TreasuryOne Red-Lined Navara. “Today had it all, from driving blind in the thick dust to hitting massive rocks and wrecking our tyres that we had to stop we can't remember how many times to swap — it was an epic challenge!

“Fortunately we are not alone in what we face and by all measures, we came off quite lightly at the end of the day because everyone is in the same boat! "Somehow through all that we climbed from 41st to 36th overall so it was a good day in the end  — our TreasuryOne Red-Lined Nissan Navara VK56’s can take the punch and we made it through — we are ready for even more of this torture tomorrow!” 

“Today proved to be one of those Dakar jokers that come along to try to ruin your race!” Red-Lined team boss Terence Marsh concluded. “They promised a nice easy day but what transpired was a bit of a nightmare — in previous Dakars we were used to a puncture every two to three days but this year the guys are puncturing four or five times a day and it’s not only us — that seems to be the norm across the entire car field.

“Happily both our Red-Lined Nissan Navaras are still in the race and today they once again promise a gentler run, so let's see — we are preparing for the worst on today's 353km from Al’Ula to Ha’il!"


Issued on behalf of Red-Lined Motoring Adventures

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