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Estonian drivers' Dakar Rally comes to fiery end, no-one hurt

The burnt-out hulk of the Century Racing CR7 after the fire early on Monday.
The burnt-out hulk of the Century Racing CR7 after the fire early on Monday. Source: Author's private collection.

This year's Dakar Rally came to an abrupt end for two Estonian drivers early Monday morning after their car burst into flames while being tested by mechanics. Fortunately no-one was seriously hurt in the incident.

The drivers, Urvo Männama and Risto Lepik, were also unharmed, but it means their race, obviously, is over.

The pair had suffered technical issues with the Century Racing CR7 earlier on as well, which meant that they were running outside the event's general classification.

As to the conflagration itself, Männama said: "We were woken up early when our head mechanic came to our trailer, to tell us the car was in bad shape."

"He said that the team had gone out to test the car that morning, with the Anti-Lag System (ALS) on, and a big flame erupted from the side exhaust, which in turn ignited the entire car," Männama went on.

The bodywork on the CR7 is made partly of carbon.

The mechanics were inside the vehicle at the time, and fortunately were able to extricate themselves from the passenger side even as flames were engulfing the vehicle.

"Fortunately, the men were safe but the car burned out completely. For us, Dakar this time is all over now, we will not rise again from these ashes," Männama went on, both figuratively and literally.

The video below shows some of the full force of the fire.

Formerly known as the Paris-Dakar Rally, the Dakar Rally this year runs January 5 to January 19. It sees a cornucopia of off-road vehicles and variants on that, as well as modified road vehicles and motorbikes taking part, with much of the race crossing the arduous terrain, over nearly 8,000 kilometers.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Siim Boikov

Source: ERR Sport

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