All the President's men: Peru's President visits the opening day of Dakar 2013 and gets a guided tour by Etienne Lavigne, director of the event.
The first day of technical and administrative scrutineering on the Dakar 2013 was marked by the visit of the President of the Republic, who came to encourage the Peruvian competitors. Mr Ollanta Humala is counting on the country's representatives to battle with the Chileans and Argentineans in particular who are more experienced and widespread on the event.
During the Peruvian President's stroll, the Magdalena site progressively grew busier as the day passed by, welcoming approximately 170 vehicles, most of which were South American. Whilst the majority of the favourites will make their appearance at scrutineering on Thursday and Friday, the spectators were nonetheless still able to take pictures of, talk with and greet some of the movers and shakers in the quad category, starting with Marcos Patronelli. The winner in 2010 was as per usual a picture of modesty and discretion before preparing to do battle for the title: “I came without my brother, but I'm not alone: my sister is here and so are all my team. I want to ride a good Dakar and enjoy a race that will be very open: I think that there are at least 7 to 8 quad riders who can win it”. Whilst they await the first action on the tracks this coming Saturday, tomorrow the people of Lima will be able to meet Polish riders Rafal Sonik and Lukasz Laskawiec, who most certainly feature in the broad list alluded to by Patronelli. On two wheels, the challenger to Cyril Despres, Helder Rodrigues, should spike the interest of the commentators. However, Robby Gordon may steal the show from the Portuguese rider: the American's Hummer is often a spectacular site at scrutineering!