Dakar: Face to Face, day 15

Face to Face The Dakar Magazine January 14, 2005 Everyday feelings of those who are not specially famous but who dare the challenge and give a dream for those who stay behind... Lang Xu - Nissan Dessoude - 366 "I've learnt a lot... about ...

Face to Face
The Dakar Magazine
January 14, 2005

Everyday feelings of those who are not specially famous but who dare the challenge and give a dream for those who stay behind...

Lang Xu - Nissan Dessoude - 366

"I've learnt a lot... about myself"

The Lurquin family is well known on the Dakar rally. Jean-Marie is an expert co-driver in the world of rallying, and is alongside South African Giniel de Villiers on the Dakar. His son Fabian has still all to prove. And that's the reason he decided to compete on the race for his first time this year. For his first real attempt, the young Belgian, 29 years of age, hasn't chosen the easiest way. He has indeed decided to be Chinese driver Xu Lang's navigator.

"Before the Rally, I didn't think the language was a major issue, because we could talk some English and because team manager Andre Dessoude gave us a translator to supervise our road book preparation every evening and gave us communication codes. So, on the stage maybe 95% of the road book is clear for both of us, and for the remaining 5 % we have to manage. I even tried to learn some Chinese words but it's simply impossible!"

Language isn't the only problem, there's also a cultural difference because Lang Xu is a professional driver in China, and has kept his usual behaviour in the car. "In his mind, every minute lost, should be caught back. So, after we had mechanicals problem, he restarted even faster which is the best thing to do definitely break the car. And I tried to make him understand that in Rally, this behaviour is the worst to have, but it's so hard." For example, on the 12th stage between Kiffa and Bamako, after losing two hours for a problem with the wheel system, Lang Xu restarted flat out... but just for 1km when he broke another wheel!

However, the feeling is quite good between the two men, who taught each other Belgian and Chinese songs during the liaisons, and the n366 crew should make it to Dakar in a good 45th position of the overall standings. And the experience should have consequences for Fabian. "Before the start, I wanted to prove that I could be a good co-driver with the ambition to join an official team and compete in all the off-road World cup, alongside my future job as a aircraft pilot. But now I've understood what it is to be with a real good and fast driver, because that's what Xu Lang really is. What I love in rallying is to cross the desert and empty spaces while competing in a racecar. But now, with this year's experience and what happened, I would prefer co driving guests than stars. But it's also true that I say that because now I'm still in the race. Maybe in two months, my mind will have changed." The answer? Next year...

-aso-

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