Isuzu Motorsports’ Australian duo, Adrian Di Lallo and Harry Suzuki are out of 2015 Dakar thanks to a rule book technicality.

AFTER ENDURING 22 hours in he desert on the longest stage of Dakar (Stage 2 – 518km) and thus failing to make the cut-off time to start Stage 3, Di Lallo and Suzuki were refused from starting Stage 4 despite being ready to go. What happened?

According to Isuzu Motorsports, “just 80 kilometres from reaching the end of Dakar’s longest stage, 518 kilometres of hostile terrain in Stage 2, the Isuzu Motorsports team encountered a minor mechanical issue that prevented them from completing the stage.

“Before calling for assistance from their service crew (T4), driver Adrian Di Lallo and co-driver Harry Suzuki sought official advice from Paris via satellite phone on what assistance is permissible on the stage. As a result, T4 assistance from their service crew was not pursued.”

It meant that Di Lallo and Suzuki spent 20 hours in the desert waiting for recovery, missing the cut off time to restart Stage 3.

“The trucks and cars were on separate stages that day, and our stage was rough – after 50 cars had raced over it, it was chopped up. It would’ve been tricky for our service truck to reach us, but we were just a hundred metres from an escape road so our crew could have come to us that way to assist, but we were told they were not allowed,” Di Lallo explained.

“The inconsistencies are frustrating in that other competitors received T4 assistance on the stage and have been able to continue on with their Dakar. Had our crew come to assist, we would have had plenty of time to make the required repairs and get to the Bivouac well before the cut off time which, when I was asked by the official in Paris over sat phone, is exactly what I told them.

“The car’s all good and we were there, ready to race. We’d be racing right now if we didn’t call Paris first and called our crew instead. It’s disappointing – I try to play by the rules but it goes to show that in this game you’re better off begging for forgiveness than asking for permission.”

Despite meeting with race officials, the decision to refuse Isuzu Motorsports from participating further in 2015 Dakar was upheld. The team is currently arranging their return journey home to Australia.

On Stage 2, of the 135 cars that started the stage, just 60 made to the finish in time. On Stage 3, 100 cars started the stage and 85 finished. Stage 4 is currently being run and 96 cars were at the start line.


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