TATRA PHOENIX – successfully premiered at the 2016 Dakar Rally!

20 January, 2016

The crews of the TATRA BUGGYRA RACING team contributed to the thirty-year celebrations of the TATRA brand at the world's toughest long-distance rally with the excellent finishes at the 2016 Dakar Rally. Jaroslav Valtr finished eighth with his Phoenix truck, and Martin Kolomy sixteenth with his Fat Boy.

The key goal of the new TATRA PHOENIX vehicle was to finish the race. And to test and tune the truck for the next one. Having switched to the TATRA from Liaz, Jarda Valtr got the feeling soon after the race started that he could let the Phoenix "fly" and battle for the top positions. After the initial "tuning" and some bad luck for the Phoenix, he fought his way from the 33rd starting position to the second ten, and from there repeatedly made a play for the "podium".

"I came back after a year's break, and now we have the result of a lifetime. We had problems primarily at the beginning of the race and it cost us an even better finish. The race was fantastic. We showed several times that both the Fat Boy and new Phoenix belong to the absolute best and that our vehicles are ready to fight for the Bedouins," said Valtr. His teammate, Josef Kalina, who stood at the start of the TATRA vehicle with Karel Loprais 30 years ago, added after Stage 13: "It was a perfect stage for our Phoenix. He was flying today! But we had some mistakes in navigation, and it cost us valuable time. But we have another top ten finish as a result and we're defending eighth place overall, which is an excellent outcome."

Martin Kolomy strove for the highest positions and turned in a fantastic ride during the whole competition, illustrated by his victory in the 3rd stage, but unfortunately he had bad luck for a moment in the seventh stage when a stone jammed his steering, resulting in the truck crashing into a riverbed bank, causing fairly extensive damage to it. With new TATRA-brand servicing tools and technology on hand, the mechanics of the TATRA BUGGYRA RACING team managed to repair everything. Martin then tested the robustness and resilience of the TATRA 815 Fat Boy vehicle by getting back into the top ten from the depths of the starting field, where he dropped back to due to delays from the crash, and once again he put up a fight for a stage "podium", but finally ended up only in fourth.

"This year's Dakar was very hard, because we had an accident and some technical problems. One truck fared better and the other worse, but I'm excited. Both our crews finished and are healthy. It's a marathon contest, difficult to prepare for. The stages were difficult but nice, and I hope that we shall get together here in a year's time again and do even better, maybe get the best possible results. Even after today's stage, I know there is no better brand to start with," the sixteenth-place Martin Kolomy said in praise of his Tatra at the finish line.

The TATRA trucks of another Czech team – Bonver Dakar Project – also didn't do too badly with their international crews but were held back in the race by some minor accidents and defects rather than any fundamental technical problem. Arthur Ardavichus from Kazakhstan also had excellent results with an 11th place finish overall. Team boss and driver Tomas Vratny finished in 17th place and handicapped driver Andorran Alberto Llovera in 35th. With a Tatra truck adapted for manual steering, he became the first handicapped truck driver to finish the race and huge thanks go to both him and the whole Bonver Dakar Project team that enabled him to achieve this result and fulfil the TATRA brand's motto – "TATRA takes you further..."