Dakar test for Garland after Safari disappointment
- 26th September 2012, 8:00am
The Isuzu Motorsports duo was forced out of the event on Day Two (Monday, September 24) after clipping a gatepost and damaging the chassis of their 2012 Isuzu D-MAX, which has been built to contest the 2013 Dakar Rally.
With no time for a real repair before the second of the day’s stages (260km), and the D-MAX due to be shipped out in 10 day’s time for the Dakar, the Isuzu Motorsports team realised they could not risk continuing, a difficult decision for all concerned.
“Dakar has to be the priority, given how tight the timing is, so we decided to withdraw and concentrate on repairing the race car, ready for loading on the boat,” Garland says.
“We’ve spent today putting in a lot of the components we need for Dakar such as new diffs and rear and front suspension, and setting it all up with the Dakar settings, so we will give it a run tomorrow and see how it all goes.
“At this stage, the plan is for just the one day, but who knows? If competitors keep falling out of the event, and it looks like we could get a strong result, we might decide to continue – we’re still listed in 20th place tonight, so we’ll give it a shot tomorrow and make the final call when we get into the bivouac.”
This year was Garland’s 16th start in the Safari and is only the second time he has been forced to withdraw. He was running third at the time, having just gained a place when a rival team from Venezuela dropped off the pace with mechanical issues.
The five-time Safari winner has come back into competition after an enforced lay-off of more than a year, the result of fracturing a vertebra during the 2011 Dakar Rally, and then having a heart attack while on holiday two months later. He had five bypasses done by the specialist team at Melbourne’s MonashHeart.
The next event for the veteran duo is the 2013 Dakar, which will run through Chile, Argentina and Peru next January. They’re hoping to improve on their best result in the world’s most demanding motorsport event – ninth outright and first diesel home during the 2009 Dakar.
The 2012 Australasian Safari ends in Geraldton on Saturday after the crews cover around 3000km.
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