André Dessoude has just finished his 25th Dakar. Some bitterness and disappointment, even if four of his seven cars reached the finish. The 'Wizard of St-Lô' always remains lucid, and gave this analysis of his Dakar.
" Over my 25 Dakars, this will not be my favourite... even if we prepared well, with test sessions and spent time in the workshops. We were confident before we started, but we did not get the results we hoped for. There are, however, some very positive elements. Jean-Pierre Strugo finished 1st in the T2 petrol clas s, and s econd in the whole T2 category. The crew put in a faultless performance, and did some magnificent work. Jun Mitsuhashi won the T2 category, and it is satisfying to remember that Jun was trained by us for three years. At the finish today, he came to thank me for all the experience he gained with Team Des soude, which allowed him to win today. I found his attitude very endearing. Also in the T2 category, Paul finally broke his run of bad luck by finishing this edition of the Dakar. He did a good job, winning three stages in his class, and was very relaxed throughout this Dakar. Christian Lavieille's retirement remains my biggest dis appointment.
He really deserved a good result. A broken transmission, followed by a broken engine, destroyed our hopes. Christian is very unhappy at the moment, as are we all. He is an excellent driver, and I am sure his future results will eras e all memories of this event. As for the two Protos, I am sorry that we did not have a single 'clear' stage, without any problems. There was never a true opportunity to gauge our performance up against our rivals.
Punctures, getting stuck in the sand and various technical incidents disturbed at least 20% of the route. However, Miguel Barbosa did set some interesting times. It's a shame he lost over three hours changing the transmission. Without that, he could have finished in the top 15. Yvan learned a lot over the two weeks. Most importantly, he learnt how the event is made up, the different terrains crossed and the various changes of rhythm. He is now aware just how complex the Dakar really is. As for the girls, Carole and Mélanie, it was also a great disappointment to see them leave the race. They had not made a single mistake. The balance and harmony of this crew was impressive. It is quite ex c eptional. Relaxed and in a good mood, whilst remaining extremely serious : that was the attitude they showed for two whole weeks. More globally, the partnership with Oreca went well both before and during the event. Arnaud Elizagaray c ame with us on the rally and showed both his professional abilities and his qualities as a human being. He fitted perfectly into the team and work ed harmoniously with our engineer Dominique Peres. We are waiting to see the analysis of the performance of the car compared to our rivals, which will allow us to make progress in the future. Back in St-Lô, we will proceed to a full debrief and start work for the World Cup season. "