After Maxxis Dakarteam powered by SuperB teammate and twin brother Tim Coronel was out of the Dakar rally already on Day 2, Tom Coronel is on his own with his buggy. But he is holding strong. The second part of last weekend's marathon stage from Uyuni to Iquigue appeared to be just a formality because of the long neutralization. But the last part of 40 kilometers through the dunes caused severe challenges for Tom. After a problem with the suspension, a lost passport, night in the dunes and a roll-over with his buggy, Tom only arrived in the bivouac yesterday to complete his first 2015 Dakar week.
After a short night in the sleeping facility in Bolivia, it was once more an early rise the next day to take on the long drive over the salt flats to the border of Chili. Once in Chili the there were still some dunes from Iquique waiting including the popular high decent to the coast line. The Maxxis Dakar buggy had suffered quite a lot during Special Stage 7, but together with the help of the Bastion Hotels team Tom managed to repair the damage. Just before the border with Chili Tom experienced problems with the suspension. Repairing the problem took some time, but finally Tom managed to get on again.
Once arriving at the border, a problem of a whole other level occurred. "I was waiting at the border and wanted to grab my bag with my passport, but could not find it. Than I remembered I left the bag alongside the road, being in a hurry. Stupid of course, but after a number of these days you are not that clear anymore, I can confirm you. Fortunately I ran into a participant who told me that an equipe from Chili found my bag and took it along with them. Half an hour later they gave me my passport and I could cross the border," Tom explains.
Additional problems forced Tom to spent the night in the desert, to continue the next morning. "I thought that I had experienced every kind of problem now, but the next minute my buggy ended upside down on its roof. It all happened very quickly, but I probably made a misjudgment. The damage was minor but I could not get the buggy back on its wheels. But finally some locals helped me out and I could complete the final couple of kilometers to the bivouac. You can imagine how happy I was to arrive there."
The mechanics still have some work to do, and Tom has to catch up on some sleep, but the first week of Dakar is a wrap. Hopefully Tom Coronel has left the biggest problems behind him, embarking on a somewhat smoother second week of Le Dakar.