An alliance that will give you the creeps! The foremost Czech motorsport teams have joined forces. Bonver Dakar Project and MKR Technology together with the Dutch Mammoet Rallysport have established a three-party coalition. The goal is crystal-clear – conquer the famous Dakar Rally.
In the unique connection unparalleled to this day, all the three teams can draw on a long-standing experience gained at racing circuits or demanding marathon off-road tracks. The north-Bohemia based MKR Technology and its new MKR Adventure project is to act as the technical partner to both the international racing teams that have signed the mutual support agreement for the prestigious Dakar Rally. “It is virtually impossible to win Dakar as an individual. You simply don’t stand a chance against the extraordinary dominance of the Russian Kamaz trucks and other factory-supported teams unless you have someone at your back you can rely on to help you. Also, a huge portion of luck is essential and we are doing our best to get lucky. We now have a more extensive background, new technology and continuous assistance, which increases our chances of success a great deal,“ explains Tomáš Vrátný, the Bonver Dakar Project manager.
None of the trio is a complete fresher in the motorsport field. The Bonver Dakar Project has been getting ready for its third participation in the toughest rally on the globe. For Tomáš Vrátný, it is going to be his fourth year at the Dakar already. In comparison, the MKR Technology team can benefit from more than twenty years of truckracing experience represented by the figure of their chief constructor Mario Kress. Having achieved several constructor-trophy wins in the European Championships series have rendered MKR Technology one of the best constructors ever. The team debuted at the Dakar Rally this January as they prepared the engine for Aleš Loprais, who came to be the best Czech representative thanks to sixth place overall and two stage wins. Therefore, the high ambitions announced are well-founded. „This is not just a one-time thing, merely supplying technology. Our goal is to create a long-term and successful project based on an international platform. In the future, we are looking to spend several years together. We are interconnected not only on a business level but also on a personal one, which we can built on very well. Nothing is better than a team of people with similar ideas. I believe we’ll be able to meet the goals together,“ says the experienced German constructor Mario Kress of MKR Technology.
While MKR Technology built two complete Renault K520 4×4 Dakar trucks for the Dutch Mammoet Rallysport, they constructed special racing powertrains for the Bonver Dakar Project’s trucks Tatra Jamal. These had been developed in the co-operation of Mario Kress and Milan Holáň, the Bonver Dakar Project chief mechanic and Tomáš Vrátný’s co-pilot. „Milan belongs to the Dakar constructors‘ elite and Mario to the circuit racing one. They complement one another and click perfectly, which is incredibly important for the entire project. It is a beneficial connection for both sides,“ praises Tomáš Vrátný the co-operation with MKR Technology.
From the technical viewpoint, co-operation of the two teams with international ambitions brings together an intriguing composition. In the Kopřivnice workshop of the Bonver Dakar Project three Tatra Jamal specials with swinging half-axles characteristic for the Tatra trucks were developed, while Mario Kress’s technology centre in Židovice built two trambus Renault specials with rigid axles. The trucks were constructed in the last few months. These will be piloted by the experienced Mammoet Rallysport drivers Martin Van den Brink and Pascal de Baar. As a result, the project involves an interesting connection of the teams as well as a direct comparison of the two chassis concepts.
Moreover, the data, experience and real-life verification of the prototype components will be further used the individual automotive manufacturers. „The technical development that can be used in series production of trucks is another key objective of the project. That is why we decided to apply both concepts as opposed to giving preference to either one of them. We want to test, compare and evaluate the acquired data which we can later provide to truck manufacturers,“ adds Tomáš Vrátný.
And the goal for the 2015 Dakar Rally? „We will see how well we get on. Success is only possible with technical readiness, good physical fitness and luck. We’ll make every effort to achieve the first two, the third we can only hope for. We are creating a long-term project that we wish to develop further, so our goal for the 2015 Dakar is nothing over the top. We’ll take it one step at a time, but we certainly want to get noticed,“ concludes Mario Kress.