ANDRE DESSOUDE'S JOURNAL
Portimao -- 31st December 2005
André Dessoude, the " boss ", in charge of ten cars, gave his comments after this first day of competition, during which his team shone particularly brightly.
A colourful start from the Portuguese capital city, where the crowds gathered this morning around the Belem Cultural Centre. Plenty of enthusiasm, which will accompany the Dakar throughout its route. The Portuguese are passionate about motorsport, just as André Dessoude loves his team and this sport.
" We are very satisfied with this first day of competition. Carlos Sousa's superb performance, with the second-fastest time, is a great pleasure. It was very important for him to shine in front of his home crowds. Carlos' morale is excellent this evening, and the Navara is going very well. This result is good for all the team.
As for the two Pickup drivers, Krzystof Holowczyc and Jun Mitsuhashi, they did what we expected of them, setting very close times. They were very reasonable, as the aim is to get to Africa with cars in good condition. I think that we will be able to get some good results if they both stay in this sort of frame of mind.
No problems with the Chinese Nissan Paladin vehicles. Xu Lang set an excellent 64th time, while his compatriot Zhou Yong was a bit less fast, with the 112th time. But this is only the start. This will be their second Dakar, and they have understood that although you cannot win a Dakar in Europe, you can, however, lose everything.
Our three Pathfinder Production cars behaved well. Unfortunately, Benoît Rousselot had a small electrical problme which lost him a few minutes. But we have found the cause of his problems, due to the humidity, and this has now been solved. René Metge and Paul Belmondo were perfect, and stayed within the lines that had been set..
It was the sort of day I like. We are confident for the rest, and we will sleep well, this final night of 2005. A happy new year to everyone !"