Portrait of a lady, day twelve

GERALDINE DESHAYES 2 years' higher education: Geraldine Deshayes embarked upon business and marketing studies fresh out of high school. Born in St Lo, she naturally shows up at the door of Andre Dessoude for an on-tht-job training that should ...

GERALDINE DESHAYES

2 years' higher education: Geraldine Deshayes embarked upon business and marketing studies fresh out of high school. Born in St Lo, she naturally shows up at the door of Andre Dessoude for an on-tht-job training that should allow us to study on; Andre hires her... "He was short of staff, confirms Geraldine, so we signed a two-year contract for some admin and commercial work. It was back when the All Road team was soaring, growing rapidly and Andre saw I was passionate for competing so he asked me to work with him. That was way back in October 1989... and I've been by his side for the 20 years now."

Being assistant team manager implies a lot: "I manage contacts with the participants and the officials at rallies; I also handle part of the logistics. In a nutshell, as often in the world of rally, I have to multitask. Here in the field, at the Dakar, I manage a team of 32 people: 4 race cars, 4 trucks and 3 assistance patrols.

All Road rallies are all my life; it is a thing you don't do by chance. You may show up one year and if the living conditions - which are harsh - are not to your liking, you impatiently wait for it to be over. But if you like it, you impatiently wait for the end of the year to do it again... As for me, I try to mingle in order not to show that I am a woman. It is tougher for us women to be accepted in a world of men. We must work harder and always perform better. We must stay alert at all times to be up to standards. But I like the openness of the Dakar, the encounters, the people, the discovery of new countries and life as a community. But this year, I do miss Africa, even if people here are really adorable and welcoming... I miss the feeling of strangeness, the kids, the people who make me laugh... the Africans are really touching and endearing."

-credit: aso

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers André Dessoude