After a cold desert night, conditions remain miserable the next day for the start of the event. To share the experience, the team is three up in the two Dusters with external cages, with two members in the third. They run together on stage, negotiating their way through dry river beds, large rock fields and steep hills. Often, one or more team members are outside the car, guiding it carefully. Progress is slow, but steady.
The weathers getting better, but the teams luck is going down. Folded by a damaged radiator, a Duster is forced to stop. The other two go on, but the lost time means they dont visit all the checkpoints on time. No need to be ashamed: only one car in the GPS Cup makes the 20 checkpoints. The lead Duster finishes the third day.
It hasnt been easy: 10 hours of intense, non-stop focus. George Frost, who deals with leg injuries and PTSD, has driven virtually all day. Hes exhausted, but hes “buzzing”.
While the lame Duster is being lowered from a recovery truck, it is discovered that one of the others also has a damaged radiator. Team leader Sean Whatley is baffled. He used to fix tanks for a living. In war zones. Under fire. Fixing a Duster radiator? Easy.
The problem is the bolts that hold the radiators, shattered by the force of wet and compacted mud pushed towards them. If it had been dry, it wouldnt have been a problem.
Whatley fixes things, but there are no spare parts and going out for the second day with the mended radiators runs the risk of more substantial damage. Dacia is the best-selling car brand in Morocco, but local Dusters use diesel engines prior to Euro 6, with different screws. The spare parts are obtained but do not arrive until within 24 hours, so the decision is made not to participate in the second day.
When White tells the team late at night, there are no complaints, no complaints. The next morning, under a blue sky, the team sets to work with a renewed purpose. The cars are checked, tempered and worked. And the team takes the opportunity to offer more training and personal development.