Repsol riders in Dakar 2006: Carlo de Gavardo
What does the Dakar mean to you?
"It is the hardest competition on two-wheels of the world. A unique experience."
Which is the best memory you keep of the 10 times you've taken part in the mythic race?
"Having finished my first Paris-Dakar. It seemed to be something almost impossible, but I did it, it was a great achievement."
After your first participation, did you think that you would get that far?
"No, the truth is that I never thought about it. I enjoyed it from the first moment and from then on, everything came bit by bit."
Would you say that the desert is a friend or an enemy?
"A friend, a very close friend."
You were the first Chilean rider who took part in the rally, what made you do it?
"I was the first one on a motorbike. I did it mainly due to the challenge of racing rallies and there is no better way to do it than in the most prestigious one."
This year you will be racing again with the KTM 660. What kind of feelings does the new bike give you? What's the difference compared to the 450cc?
"I raced already on the KTM 660 for eight years and I achieved a third place in the Dakar and a FIM world title. Then I spent two years developing the 450 Rally and now I'll go back to the 660. It's a very powerful bike that needs much more physical shape, because all obstacles get closer much quicker due to the higher speed. Braking demands also much more effort, but there's no big difference as regards the weight."
This year you'll race within the structure of the Repsol KTM Team. What is your aim?
"My aim is to take the Repsol team to the top position and I'll do everything I can to make it."
How is the relation between you and your new team-mates?
"We have an extraordinary relationship. I've known them for a long time and there is a sincere relation, far beyond the sporting aspect, both with Marc and with Jordi and Giovanni."
What makes the Dakar such a special race?
"10,000 kms and fifteen days of race that take the rider and the team behind him to the most unexpected, extreme situations, both as regards the physical, technical and psychological aspects, the fact of living together and the weather conditions."
What would you highlight as a personal quality of yours?
"I always give my best, always, until I have reached my limit."