In the end, despite the initial speculation, Ondra Klymčiw actually went to the Dakar Classic with a Škoda 130 LR, but for the last time and with the fact that this time he will go for a good cause and maybe he himself, not just the car, will walk away in the best and middle. He chose the young talent Josef Brož as a co-driver for this extraordinary year and the experienced Petr Dokonal as a mechanic.

The charitable principle of the race is simple, Klymčiw has entered into official cooperation with the Paraple Center and all proceeds from the race go to their account. You may be wondering why, but there is a logical explanation. Klymchiw had damaged vertebrae (thoracic, cervical) in his near-fatal accident in 2018, but he recovered. However, the Umbrella Center takes care of those who were not quite so lucky.

In any case, each stage of the race has a sponsor who lists the amount per kilometer traveled. And how many kilometers will the Škoda 130 LR crew drive, the amount of money (km x amount per km) the sponsor will send to the Paraple Center account. And you can contribute too, directly HERE. The goal of the project is to raise a million crowns, but the road to it is still long.

Photo: Škoda at the Dakar

The team – from the left, mechanic Petr Dokonal, co-pilot Pepa Brož and Ondra “schnauzer” Klymčiw.

Anyway, Klymchiw set the pace from the start of the Dakar, taking the lead in places in the prologue. One of the interesting defects occurred right from the start, when the Škoda’s hood flew off, but Klymčiw, nicknamed the Schnauzer at the time, successfully fixed it afterwards.

After the second stage, when a great adrenaline experience was the necessary jump to overtake the truck before the finish line, the crew placed second overall in the Classic. Just a point behind the leading Land Cruiser, however, some moribundus started to climb on our boys as well.

Photo: Škoda at the Dakar

At first, Škoda held on to the front ranks of the Dakar Classic.

In the fifth stage, Klymchiw again reported several partial victories on his Facebook, but at the same time declared that the fifth stage was the hardest he had ever experienced in his life. After all, finding the azimuth and getting around among the trees and stones was not easy, plus the car began to jerk on its own. According to Klymchiv, Škoda received real karate.

Rise and fall

However, the sixth stage brought suffering in the form of increased oil consumption (piston rings or head gasket), lack of food and almost zero signal. It was serviced (emergency) as best it could, however, Ondra made it clear that he would fight and top up the oil.

Photo: Škoda at the Dakar

There were also the first more serious problems, but nothing the team couldn’t deal with.

However, after the sixth stage, Klymchiw ended up with a burned-out engine that consumed 15 liters of oil on the 200 km route, but the crew passed all the tests. However, to cross to Riyadh, she had to use the help of another car, which pulled them on a rope. The good thing is that both members of the Škoda crew started praying to higher beings and it obviously worked out, even in second place, but both will have to fulfill what they promised. So Ondra will go to church for mass.

Due to oil consumption, it was decided to replace the engine and change the chassis, which was a job especially for the mechanic Petr Dokonal and for Ondra Klymčiw himself. According to him, this year’s track is really hard and demanding, so the technique is getting a hell of a job.

Photo: Škoda at the Dakar

In the middle of the race Škoda received a new engine and chassis.

However, even during the engine replacement, Ondra did not lose his sense of humor and did not forgive himself for the joke about the downsizing Škoda engines. After the swap was complete came the trial run, with the new engine really roaring to life at 1:17 am local time. Subsequently, it was the turn of the chassis.

The race continued and the crucial turning point came after the eighth stage, in which Klymčiw took the overall lead of the Dakar Classic! The Škoda with a new engine and fresh chassis drove like hell, while our crew was also helped by the mistake (penalty) of the favored Spaniards (however, they protested). On that account, Klymčiw declared. “This is DAKAR, one mistake and it will mess up the standings in no time.”

However, luck turned in the ninth stage and Klymčiw and Brož fell into an unmarked hole and could not get out of it for a long time (no one stopped to help them!), for which they received a penalty. As part of making up for the loss, they did the fuel pumps and the steering (a stone), which again meant a penalty. So the car became almost unmanageable, but it reached the finish line at a slow pace.

Photo: Škoda at the Dakar

Klymchiw apologized and cried after the ninth stage. However, fans and representatives of the Umbrella Center immediately supported him.

Klymchiw thus fell from first place to eighth overall (out of about 85), which he personally took very badly, considering his mission/goal at the Dakar. He apologized profusely on Facebook, but he continues to fight. The fans appreciated this and expressed their full support on the networks, as did the representatives of the Paraple Center. By the way, the unwelcome, disgruntled Spaniards also appeared and wrote an official petition to have Klymchiw excluded from the Dakar Classic.

However, bad luck did not leave the Dakar Škoda even in the tenth stage, as already in the morning before the start the car refused to go into revs, even though it had received proper care the night before. So the fight against time began, when candles, cables, coils, ignition, pumps, part of the wiring, fuses, hoses were replaced. Nothing helped. Only Tomáš Hovorka from the Enjoy Motorsport team revealed where the problem was – a clogged fuel reduction valve.

Photo: Škoda at the Dakar

In the tenth stage, Klymčiw withdrew and returned from the desert to the bivouac. The chances of winning are thus most likely lost, but the competitor is not done yet.

For that reason, the crew arrived 2.5 hours late for the start, on the route they got stuck next to our representatives with a Citroën 2CV, towards the end of the special stage the car got angry again, the pumper prayed instead of refueling, 20 km after the start of the navigation test the car started skipping again . Klymchiw finally decided to withdraw, return from the desert to the bivouac and look for a defect.

“It’s really unbelievable, because no one will believe us. I really enjoyed the first eight days. But the fun continues because we’re going for the Umbrella Center. In Dakar, it’s like in life,” wrote Klymčiw on his Facebook.

In the evening, we contacted Ondra by phone and we have good news, the error/cause of the malfunction was in the cable, so the car should be pedaling again. The atmosphere in the team is good and despite the troubles, everyone, except the Spaniards, is happy. However, with a second breath, Klymčiw added that this year’s Classic is difficult and the technology takes a toll on everyone, whether it’s a Porsche or a Toyota Land Cruiser. Tomorrow at eight o’clock we can also look forward to one big film surprise, which will reveal the background behind the creation of the Škoda to Dakar project and give a glimpse into the interior of pilot Klymčiv himself.

And even if Klymchiw didn’t finish at all, for many he is already the winner. After all, this East Bohemian pilot has been taking an old Škodovka with a 1.3-liter engine to this extremely demanding race for several years, with which, by the way, he has beaten far more powerful models from, for example, Porsche, Toyota, Mercedes or Nissan. There are two stages left until the end of the Dakar (there are 12 in total), so keep your fingers crossed for Ondra and the whole team, they are riding for a good cause!