|What||TreasuryOne Dakar 2020 Day 11 Report|
|Where||Haradh, Saudi Arabia|
|When||Thursday 16 January 2020|
A fine 25th for de Klerk, Smalberger
South African duo Hennie de Klerk and Johann Smalberger have finally shaken the Dakar 2020 monkey from their backs and enjoyed their second clean and quick day on the trot aboard their TreasuryOne Motorsport Nissan Navara on the penultimate day of the Saudi Arabian epic. The Pretoria gentleman racer pair ran well within the top 30 from the start and through the toughest dune test of the race, making up a few more places to power home a fine 25th overall.
“Yesterday and today reminded us of how it should go in the Dakar,” Hennie de Klerk smiled at the final overnight bivouac at Hradah Thursday evening. “Dakar has tested us in every way it could this year — all we were asking for after that tough first week was a few clean days and at last, it seems our wish has been granted! “We had a great day — our Red-Lined TreasuryOne Navara was splendid in the sand, Johann’s notes were great and we had nothing ill to report — very happy with 25th today and to now be up to 27th overall.
“The biggest problem in the Dakar is if you are unable to move up the starting order, you get caught up in a mad, dusty bunch every day and that is just so difficult to get out of. “To start well into the top 30 like we did today was so much better than to set off in say 35th — we have minute gaps in the top 30 and the trucks and side-by-sides start behind from position 30, so from there back, everyone is in a bunch so it is difficult to progress up the leaderboard and so tricky in the dust, especially early on. “Then by the time you finally do find some space, it is usually too late to do anything about it.
“So today was the second day in a row where we were finally able to just worry about racing and it made such a difference. ”It’s just a pity that it took us so long to get to where we are now, but we are really looking forward to making it three clean days in a row as we race to the finish of Dakar 2020 in Quiddia tomorrow. “It’s just so nerve wracking too!”
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