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Major Unimog service at Dakar halftime
Dakar Rally : Team Maxdata Mercedes - Rest Day
On the Dakar Rally's day of rest, all the teams focus on working on their cars – major maintenance service for the ad-truckdrive Unimog in the middle of the desert.

Both trucks of Team MAXDATA Mercedes-Benz have completed
more than half the distance.

Every single day, the 2007 Dakar Rally has a new challenge for its entrants in store. During yesterday's stage, from Zouerat to Atar, a 15-kilometre field of dunes turned out to be the biggest handicap. “Some 30 trucks and cars toiled their way across this field at the same time,” says Unimog driver Darko Goriup, “And everybody got stuck again and again. We also lost some two hours, there. It was extremely trying, with a sandstorm making the navigation particularly difficult and the fact that we were exhausted because of the stress experienced so far adding to the challenge. But at the end of the day, we've made it.” In the overall rankings, the crew currently holds 48th position.

“I'm truly proud of our ‘small' Unimog and the two guys in the cockpit,” says Ellen Lohr. “To hold a top-50 position is a true achievement. After all, the Unimog was mainly designed as service car – and now it delivers in fine style as ‘racer'.”

The desert rally's day of rest traditionally represents the day of the major maintenance service. Deep in Mauritania, close to the desert city of Atar, the ad-truckdrive Unimog will be subjected to an extensive check-up and prepared to the event's second half. Inter alia, the shock absorbers will be changed and the car will be equipped with new sand fenders.
Just as it is the case at any major service site, Darko Goriup and his co-driver, Janez Krivic, will be supported by the crew of the service Actros, regardless of the fact that the trio driving the mobile repair shop – driver Udo Heidenreich and the two Mechanics Andre Jokusch and Thomas Auerbach – have also got some 4,000 kilometres under their belt, two thirds of them covered on unsurfaced tracks.

Following tomorrow's stage from Atar to Tichi, featuring the rally's longest special stage (589 kilometres), the Unimog pairing will have to rely on its own skills. On the so-called marathon stage to Nema, held on 15th January and featuring another 494-kilometre special stage, no service will be allowed. The route of the Actros will take it directly to the stage finish in Nema.



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