This 26th year of the Telefónica Dakar 2004 Rallye started 1. 1. 2004 near Paris and 17 stages in total led though France, Spain, Morocco, Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, and Senegal.

The competition vehicle T 815 DAKAR TERRNO, driven by Tomas Tomecek RUBENA is collaborating with, was having a chance to win a medal place over the major part of the competition (up to the 15th stage) and finally was placed 6th, which can in no case be considered a failure.

Selection of the news sent by our staff during the race:

News from the 12th stage

"This year as well as in all previous years, our vehicles attract considerable attention here. Not only the technicians of other teams, but also the tourists walking along the bivouac are watching with a great interest our air-cooled twelve engine with the unique chassis design. People are taking photos of the car quite often and they are also asking many questions."

News from the 14th stage

"After finishing the 14gh stage, there wasn’t a pleasant invitation for us. The Russians decided to do anything for Tchaguine and Kabirov to win the first two places of the total rating in the truck category in Dakar. This is a targeted attack to all those threatening Kamazes. The Russians entered a protest with commissioners that De Rooy, Karel Loprais, and our staff didn’t went through all GPS points during the 13th stage. There were about twenty such points positioned on the route. Based on this denouncement, the commissioners came to inspect our navigating instruments and everybody was rapped with penalization of 20 to 25 minutes. The Russians attained what they wanted – at present they are on the first two places of the current order. We won’t be fighting Kabirov any more, we must rather beware of Gerard De Rooy not beating us. Today’s 15th stage will be decisive as to this point."

News from the 15th stage

"We are standing on 212 km of today’s 15th stage. History repeats… The driving joint shaft of the left front wheel had broken. We have been trying to release the Tatra from sand and fix it up for about an hour, but up to now we haven’t succeeded. We are standing on a slight slope, so the car has been still sliding sideways. We are intending to replace the shaft, but we think the whole repair will take 4 – 5 hours or so. Otherwise we all are O.K., nothing is wrong with us. The staff don’t think of withdrawing, they believe that the repair will be successfully done to continue the competition. Dakar is a fight, but we have a Tatra sign on the hood, and the Tatra fights up to the end."

Total final order of the Telefónica Dakar 2004 rallye:
1. Tchaguine (414 - Kamaz) 68h 13´49´´
2. Kabirov (410 - Kamaz) + 53´38´´
3. De Rooy G. (417 - DAF) + 1h 28´28´´
6. Tomecek (412 - Tatra) + 8h 54´08´´

For collaborating company, it is important that air springing bellows manufactured in the joint-stock company RUBENA proved very good constructional and useful properties. The competition vehicle T 815, having mounted standard air springing bellows, proved that the production programme AVS RUBENA meets the most demanding criteria for usage in normal as well as extreme operation.

The lifting bags RUBENA also proved themselves practical, as can be seen from the photos at the bottom.