Dakar 2005: Seniority is a degree

Jordi Juvanteny, Jose Luis Criado and Francesc Pardo managed to finish the Dakar once again taking the victory in the production trucks 6-8 wheels class

They have reached Dakar another year, overcoming all the difficulties and winning their particular double race. The first race is the one confronting themselves and their capacity to cover thousands of kilometres. The second race allowed them to take once again the victory in the class of production trucks with 6 to 8 wheels.

Jordi Juvanteny, Jose Luis Criado and Francesc Pardo have efficiently driven the MAN truck wearing the Repsol colours. On their arrival in Dakar, with their minds set on the flight that will bring them back home, they reflect together on the meaning of this year's race.

"Our performance has been positive. We finished and won our class, that explains it all. However, and despite the satisfaction, we have a certain bad feeling due to the cancellation of some marathon stages, something that went against our interests. Some of the participants were almost out of the race and they were able to rejoin. If it wouldn't be like that, we could have achieved a better place in the overall standings, for sure".

What is your general assessment of the rally?

"It's been a somehow atypical edition, and most of the teams, ours included, are not really happy. We got the feeling that most of the routes were planned to thrash participants and they were not as beautiful as other years. We've seen many things that were superfluous, such as routes in Mali crossing several villages and also too fast sections. That is something that must be changed".

In view of the result, the truck didn't have any problem, did it?

"Difficulties as any other truck could have had, but nothing serious. One shock absorber made some trouble during a couple of days and we also had some punctures. We had real trouble only in one stage, the penultimate, were we had almost no brakes, but the possibility to finish the race wasn't at all endangered. Everybody has problems in a race like this and that's normal. The lack of serious difficulties allowed us to finish fifteenth in the overall standings and first of our class. We have to consider that people who finished ahead of us last year were behind us this year.

And the team spirit?

"Everything worked perfectly well inside the cockpit and once things got complicated everybody reacted with courage. We're all seniors and we know what to do in every moment, reacting in the face of a problem, such as the day we ran out of fuel ten kilometres from the finish line and we managed to collect ten litres to be able to reach the finish. We are a good team and we're proud of it.

What should be changed in order to improve the rally?

"With an eye on next year, we think that we all have to make a deep reflection. You cannot organise a race designing a hard rally and then changing it depending on how things are working out. You have to keep your criteria from the beginning to the end, because marathon stages without assistances are those who offer more chances for private teams who have little means. I think that this is one of the points that have to be changed for the next years".