SAM shows competitve spirit, but is not rewarded

Javier Campillay / Claudio Ocampo in the 2nd stage.

Javier Campillay / Claudio Ocampo in the 2nd stage.

Plauen, January 11th, 2014 – Expect the unexpected: This was the motto the ‚Sächsische Automobil Manufaktur‘ (SAM) had for the first half of the Rallye Dakar. Despite of two rollovers, they managed to keep Javier Campillay’s car in the race till day six – but finally the competition was over for him just as for team colleague Ilya Kuznetsov.

„The Dakar really proves its reputation this year“ – this is how Sven Knorr, founder and CEO of the ‚Sächsische Automobil Manufaktur‘, sums up the character of the 36th edition of the world’s hardest rallye. The 4676 kilometers on six stages from Rosario to Salsa demanded everything from the participants. Even experienced pilots like Dakar record winner Stéphane Peterhansel called it the hardest competition since the desert rallye moved to South America.

It was the first time the team of SAM rose to the challenge with two cars, and it brutally felt the Dakar’s strains. With two rollovers during the first three days, the Chilean-Argentinian duo Javier Campillay/José Ocampo caused a whole lot of work for SAM’s mechanics. The SAM 30D CC with starting number 393 reached the goal of stage four at 7 a.m., while the start was scheduled for 7.30 a.m. Including grace period, the mechanics had only two hours to get the 4WD prototype ready for the race.

Nevertheless, the SAM’s 13 team members have not been rewarded for all their efforts. On the fifth stage, Campillay/Ocampo were stopped by an engine problem that had been caused by a rollover. A clutch failure on day six brought the final time-out for the yellow SAM 30D CC. By that time, the identical car of Ilya Kuznetsov/Roman Elagin (number 383) had already dropped out as well. Kunetsov’s biggest challenge during the Dakar has not been the rallye itself, but a pneumonia. When the Russian champion had been thrown back by a technical failure, he did not continued the race on the rallye track, but on the country road. This decision made him miss too many waypoints and disqualified him.

„The withdrawal of Ilya Kuznetsov is frustrating, as we could have continued the competition without the disqualification – but those are the rules“ explains Knorr. „What happened during the next days is unbelievable. The „Dakar spirit“ was everywhere. The team did a great job, reacted perfectly to unexpected conditions and showed great fighting spirit in all situations. I also have greatest respect for Javier and Claudio. They have shown they have the heart of a fighter.“

Javier Campillay: „Our problems started with the second stage. After one big jump over a dune we suffered a roll-over, but fortunately we landed on our wheels in the end. From the technical side the car was still in best conditions after the accident. Only the carbon-body was damaged in the rear. thanks to the fast and great work of the mechanics we could keep on racing, but in the fourth stage we had a critical manoeuvre in one of the stone fields and the car fell on the roof a second time. Only with the help of several competitors which rolled the car on its wheels and gave us some motor-oil we were able to go back on track. The engine runs again and we managed  to arrive in the bivouac just in time before the restart to the next stage. Again the good and fast work of the mechanics gave us the opportunity to stay in the competition. On the way to the next section we suffered another engine problem, which was a consequential damage of the roll-over. But we were able to solve this problem with the help of the team by a phone call. We fighted until the end but it wasn’t quiet enough. We would like to thank everyone for the great help!

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