The first and last few days of any race are probably the hardest emotionally.
When a competitor must abandon at the beginning of an event it feels like we have been ripped off of all the emotions we were ready for. But when one must abandon while almost seeing the finish line, there is nothing worse than that.
Take the example of Carlos Sainz this year. He was well above everyone else.
Each day I looked forward to seeing him pass by and watch the way he positioned the car at each turn. Sadly, he crashed out while leading with less than three stages remaining.
Marc Coma in 2007 had pretty much won the Dakar with more than a one hour lead only to crash right at the end.
The same feelings are true for all competitors.
Personally, I am pretty nervous about the machinery right at the end - you do not want anything to fail.
Mentally you must concentrate until you cross the finish line and not make any mistakes. You know what to do mentally, but the emotional side wants to take over and "make you feel" the finish line before it is being crossed.
It is not over until it's over, and being over confident can be a costly mistake. Having the emotions take over makes you lose concentration which result in navigation errors and/or crashes.
The body is physically tired after nearly two weeks of effort and the reaction times while racing are slower. This is why being in extremely good physical condition is so important for the mind to remain clear – be it on a bike, a car, or in a truck.
Let's hope that the entire caravan as it is today cross the finish line in Buenos Aires where millions of people will be cheering for them.
Team Rally Australia
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