The trio Martin Šoltys, Tomáš Šikola, Petr Schweiner will sit in the truck, named Tatra Buggyra Evo3. In addition to them, Buggyra will be represented at the Dakar by Jaroslav Valtr and René and David Kilián, the third crew consists of Daniel Stiblík, Lukáš Kvasnica and Jiří Tomec. These two parties will travel with the Tatra Phoenix. The team will be joined by 19-year-old Aliyyah Koloc with a Red-Lined REVO T1+ car for its premiere in the elite Ultimate category (known until now as T1).
“The construction of the truck was significantly delayed by the FIA regulations issued only in the summer. I consider it a small miracle that we managed to prepare the third evolution of our Dakar Tatra for departure for embarkation in Barcelona. Just two months ago, there was almost nothing here. Then came the intensive completion of the whole year’s work and year’s preparation,” said Jan Kalivoda, head of team communication, at the presentation of the Tatra Buggyra Evo3.
Rally Dakar 2024
The 2024 Dakar Rally takes place from 5 to 19 January 2024 in Saudi Arabia. It starts in the city of Al-Ula, travels across the country towards the legendary Empty Quarter and ends in Yanbu on the shores of the Red Sea.
At first glance, the biggest change is the “muzzle” cabin – it replaced the trambus one, i.e. with a flat front. This, in contrast to circuits, is a revolutionary innovation for Buggyra off-road trucks. “We saw that such a cabin is the way forward in trucks today. Already during the summer, we tried new parts on the test Tatra 815, which we revived. Thanks to this, we know that the new car is built on good components. Now they will check the functionality and durability of the Dakar car. We don’t have big ambitions with Evo3 to go for the result. We are going to gather as much experience as possible. The main goal is to reach the finish line and collect as much data as possible at each stage,” added Kalivoda.
In addition to the designers and mechanics, according to the team, its pilot Martin Šoltys also has great merit in the preparation of the new truck. “For the past two months, I’ve been at the Buggyra Technology Center almost all the time. It was very challenging, but I must especially thank the team of mechanics. You were always here too. Thanks to them, an incredible thing was done and the truck is finished,” praised the driver. By the way, Buggyra previously boasted that artificial intelligence also helped to some extent with the development of the vehicle.
Because the construction of the truck took place at the last minute, Martin Šoltys did not have room for any major testing. But even two days of driving in the quarry gave him enough confidence in the new car.
“Unreal as it may sound, we had no problem at all during the tests. We were just working out the details. Maybe one of our lights stopped shining. Otherwise, the truck works perfectly. We have 80 percent of the car tested from Phoenix. It has our proven engine, the same transmission, the same chassis. What has changed, and for the better, are the shock absorbers with springs. It’s a new generation and they’re great,” said Šoltys, who received starting number 605 from the organizers.
Although, according to the team, the most important thing will be to get data in January in Saudi Arabia, as a true competitor, Šoltys also thinks about a good result. “It would be nice to finish in the top three,” he says.
Jaroslav Valtr with starting number 604 will go to his eighth Dakar. His Tatra Phoenix underwent a complete overhaul in addition to an increase in engine performance. “Our car is in top condition and runs great. Both the axles and the gearbox underwent overhaul. Before the Dakar, I mainly focused on the reliability of the car and proven parts.”
Daniel Stiblík, Lukáš Kvasnica and Jiří Tomec will ride in the Tatra Phoenix with number 626. Their role is to be the main help to Šoltys and Valtra. “The last Dakar taught us that such quick assistance is certainly useful,” explained Jan Kalivoda.