Portrait of a Lady, day ten

ANTONIA DE ROISSARD On the Dakar, the competitors are more used to seeing her in the right-hand side seat of a car, but this time Antonia Roissard is following the race as a team manager. "I was meant to take part with Ellen Lohr, but a ...

ANTONIA DE ROISSARD

On the Dakar, the competitors are more used to seeing her in the right-hand side seat of a car, but this time Antonia Roissard is following the race as a team manager. "I was meant to take part with Ellen Lohr, but a sponsor dropped out at the last minute," explains Antonia, "So she offered me to come along as team manager and here I am... 'nanny' for a team of 16 guys, who I all have to manage: 2 cars and 1 truck in the race, plus 1 assistance truck and 2 press vehicles".

This tiny lady, the daughter of Henry de Roissard, was brought up with motor-sport. "My father took part in all-terrain, endurance and rally-raid races," she explains. "At 15 years of age, I wanted to race, so I started driving a single-place cart and I soon understood that it was better to be a good co-pilot rather than a poor driver. I went on to study journalism and then left to work in London for five years. In 1999, my father took me to the Dubai rally and whilst I was there, I realized that this was what I liked, my environment, my extended family, since some of them have known me since I was 12 years old... I was lucky enough to meet Rene Metge with whom I worked for eight years".

Antonia took part in several races with her father before becoming co-pilot to Stephane Henrard. "I knocked on several doors before a Belgian who was smarter than the others (Henrard) realized that with me in the passenger seat, given my size, he was saving 30 kilos in weight... With Stephane, I had a fine but short career and we won the Rally of the Pharaohs. After that, I was Ellen's co-pilot..."

On the Dakar, Antonia is at home navigating just like a fish is at home in the sea: "I recharge my batteries here, even if it isn't a holiday. I'm traveling by car, but I'm not too frustrated, since I've already taken part Por Las Pampas rally with my father in 2005, so I know how wonderful the tracks are... and I really love these two countries!"

-credit: aso

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Ellen Lohr , Stéphane Henrard , René Metge