WhatDakar 2019 Day 8 Report
WherePisco, Peru
WhenTuesday 15 January 2019

Shameer, Zaheer bow out of Dakar 2019

South African rookie heroes Shameer Variawa and Zaheer Bodhanya are out of the Dakar Rally. The intrepid duo had overcome a series of challenges before Tuesday’s eighth day from San Juan de Marcona to Pisco in Peru, but a combination of thick fog and fesh fesh dust left them unsighted on a tricky section early in the stage, where their SVR Red Lined Nissan Navara struck a hidden rock to cause enough damage to prevent them from completing the stage.

“I'm afraid to say that Dakar 2019 has eventually got the better of us,” a disappointed Shameer admitted. “We were driving in very difficult conditions with pretty much zero visibility and you cannot lift off the throttle in the fesh fesh so it's even more difficult, and we had an impact with something in there and damaged the rear left suspension of the Navara. “But that’s the Dakar - we could have been a metre or two to the right and driven past whatever it was, but that’s it — it is what it is.

“We did what we could to repair it, but we could not get it sorted well enough to keep racing — there were still 250 kilometres to go, so we drove slowly out of the stage to retire. “Such a pity — we have been on the ropes for the last few days, we have fought hard, the team has given its absolute best, worked through the night and late every evening — we came and gave it our best shot as a privateer outfit and we are proud of what we achieved.”

Variawa and Bodhanya arrived in Peru as total rookies with a brand new car designed from scratch and which only ran 1500km before shipping to Peru and it had never seen a dune before the start, but their biggest challenge was to prove to be their seeding. “We had to start right at the back of the field and this year the trucks for whatever reason raced with the cars for five of the stages so far, which not only meant that we actually started even further back, but we had to deal with these 12 tonnne behemoths that churn up the route and make the going really tough.

“Its a completely different race at the back — we also enter the dunes later, so they are softer and it is more difficult to see the undulations in the midday sun. “We have dug really deep and we are proud of our efforts, the service crew and the team. “They don’t call the Dakar the toughest race i the world for nothing — we went eight rounds with her before she too us out, but we’ll be back!” 


Issued on behalf of Shameer Variawa Racing

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