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Fifth in Dakar class for Variawa, Bodhanya

Fifth in Dakar class for Variawa, Bodhanya

South Africa's Dakar Rally rookie heroes Shameer Variawa and Zaheer Bodhanya enjoyed their first relatively clean day of the race as they powered home fifth in class on Monday’s stage 7 jaunt around the dunes of San Juan de Marcona. It was not all that easy however as the intrepid duo only arrived at Sunday's finish after 3am Monday morning and their SVR Red Lined Nissan Navara crew worked some sort of miracle to get them back on the startline 7am to allow them to reward the team's efforts, running sixth early on and finally finishing fifth.

“Today was good,” Shameer admitted. “Well, as good as it could be with the road conditions out there — they re-used stage 3 from last Wednesday today and the road was shot to start with after the whole field including the trucks had passed through in the opposite direction last week, so by the time we got there today it was horrible, rutted and all churned up. “But the Navara ran very well today — we took it easy and let the race come to us and ended up fifth in the Marathon class now we are tenth overall with something to play for.

“Yesterday was mad — we were held up in that same canyon again and had to wait and help out to clear the way to get out and once we had escaped it, the car stopped selecting gears. “We struggled to find the problem, but it turned out that a reverse light sensor on the selector had blown and once we bypassed that, we could drive in, but by then we’d lost eight hours. “But that's the Dakar and that’s why we are here — this is a challenge like no other — the biggest of our lives for sure!”

Tuesday’s eighth of ten Dakar 2019 stages runs 360km up Peru’s desert coast from San Juan de Marcona to Pisco.

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