Portrait of a lady, day thirteen

ISABELLE PATISSIER Two-time world champion and quadruple champion of France in rock-climbing, Isabelle Patissier has made a name for herself in the world of sport. Today, she is behind the wheels of an ex-SMG buggy with her partner ...

ISABELLE PATISSIER

Two-time world champion and quadruple champion of France in rock-climbing, Isabelle Patissier has made a name for herself in the world of sport. Today, she is behind the wheels of an ex-SMG buggy with her partner Thierry Delli-Zotti in charge of navigation. "I always dreamed of driving through the dunes, says Isabelle with a smile; and I've always loved driving a car.

It was my dream to be a part of motorsport and participating in the Dakar was a fascinating idea for me. I drove my first rally in Tunisia with Fred Vivier and I found a group of friends who just love to have fun... I immediately thought this particular sport was right for me. Two years later, I managed to put up a budget for the Dakar and I drove a Toyota and then on "Choupette" with Steve Ravussin. In 2004 and 2005, I drove for Nissan Dessoude and the first year, I won the T2 World Cup.

Since 2006, I have been driving an SMG buggy prepared by Thierry. Being a woman on the trail does not change anything, everyone does his or her own race, does the best and respects the other; there is no particular animosity between drivers...

Anyway, I have always lived and work in a men's world; I don't have a problem with that, much to the contrary. As for the rest, we don't have much time to chat; we bring the car to the mechanics, we install the tent, we take a shower... Being a woman or not, does not make any difference!

The Dakar is a fantastic race for me because since I have been a rock-climber, I had always dreamt to come to Argentina because there are gorgeous cliffs in Patagonia. So I am delighted that ASO announced that the Dakar was going to Latin America and I am all the more happy because we received such a lovely welcome by the locals! The landscape is gorgeous, the Andes are fabulous... magical... In Copiapò, at the top of the dunes, you could spot a green valley, black mountains and the Andes... Since the beginning, we have been crossing postcard landscapes."

-credit: aso

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Series Dakar
Drivers Isabelle Patissier