A few days before the start of the Dakar Rally are dedicated to the final preparations of the teams for the grueling marathon. It is important to perform administrative and technical checks, prepare the bivouac equipment for the upcoming trips, as well as test the sports equipment and get used to the rocks and sands of Saudi Arabia. The CFMOTO Thunder Racing Team team spent these days extremely active – they had to make last-minute technical decisions so that the quad arrived at the start in the best sports shape.
“We had a couple of days of testing, during which the problems with the tires became clear. Because we had a lot of problems with the tires in the Morocco Rally, after this race we ordered the so-called mousses, from the USA. The solution was expensive, but during the tests it became clear that these elements strongly unbalance the tires and change their properties – when driving at a speed of more than 80 km/h, the tire even jumps off the asphalt. This causes such a big vibration that we won’t be able to reach the start as all the screws would probably come out and the suspension falls apart. Because of that, we won’t use the mousses. And everything else works just fine,” Antanas Kanopkinas said as the start of the Dakar Rally approaches and said that he himself feels ready and can’t wait to cross the starting arch.
On Thursday, the team also completed the technical and administrative formalities. Before the start, there is still a briefing for the athletes, family photos of all participants and similar formalities.
The first sports kilometers will have to be covered already tomorrow, Friday. The participants are waiting for a 130 kilometer liaison and 28 km prologue, after which everyone will cross the symbolic starting arch of the Dakar Rally. The athletes will start and finish in the city of Al Ula tomorrow, and on Saturday they will turn south towards the city of Al Henakiyah. Before reaching it, the racers have more than 400 sports kilometers and more than a hundred kilometers in liaison.
A. Kanopkinas, racing on a CFMOTO quad, will compete among the ten most capable quad racers. It is true that he will be the only one riding a four-wheel-drive quad bike that is much heavier than his competitors. The athlete himself said before the start that this will give him an advantage where the track is more difficult to pass, but the weak point may be sections requiring high speed.