A well-deserved rest day for Team Dessoude!
The rest day which brings the first part of the Dakar to a close is undoubtedly extremely welcome for Team Dessoude. While the crews get some rest, the mechanics move into the spotlight. Andre Dessoude and his team are on a mission to get the cars in perfect condition for the second part of the event, that the organiser has already described as 'legendary' ...
The race has (only) reached the mid-point, and the Dakar caravan has already been decimated. Many competitors have been forced to retire, after a first week which many had described as quiet compared to the trials ahead. Therefore, tensions are running high today among the service crews in Arica, on the border between Peru and Chile. Engineers and mechanics are very much aware of the important role they play in the future success of the team.
It is also time for Andre Dessoude to draw up a first report : " On the positive side, Christian and Jean-Michel are following our most optimistic race plan. We have worked hard on the car, which means we can place ourselves just behind the factory cars, with a normal margin. For Team Dessoude, it is extremely satisfying to be able to measure ourselves directly with the manufacturers, especially knowing the amount they have invested.
Isabelle is on fine form. She had a great result yesterday after her difficulties of the day before. The performance of the Buggy for its first-ever kilometres is quite astonishing, and confirms its potential.
Frederic Chavigny and Willy Alcaraz are totally in control of their subject. They continue at their own pace, being correctly determined that by taking care of the T2 they will be able to reach the end and see Buenos Aires. David Deslandes, with Alain Brousse as a co-driver, is continuing to learn more about rally raids. He did not expect things to be this difficult, and now understands that the tales we told him before the start are really true. I think he could go faster in terms of pure performance, but quite wisely, he is remaining cautious. He is taking part in a real Dakar, one that means you have to spend the night in the desert and in the dunes. I am very pleased ! Unfortunately, both Honghzi Guo and Carlos Machado had to retire, despite all our efforts to repair their vehicles, damaged in the dunes and the fesh fesh. Honghzi made a mistake and was excluded from the event, while Carlos' codriver, exhausted and surprised by the difficulties they faced, preferred to retire.
What the drivers are saying :
Isabelle Patissier : " We drove well yesterday, especially considering we started the stage in 60th position. It was a real festival of overtaking, at a high pace, although we never went into the red. It is a shame I fell into a hole the day before, because the buggy is competitive and reliable. For its first Dakar, this is unexpectedly good. Tomorrow will be longer, harder and more difficult... " Christian Lavieille : "I slept over eight hours -- luxury ! Today, we are with our technical crew, who are doing a great job. For the second part of the Dakar, concentration will be important, because even if we take care of the car, to finish in the top ten, we need to remember that this is no country drive."
David Deslandes : " The whole team is crazy -- you have to be, to do this sort of event. I am amazed by the length and the difficulty of the special stages. I will never see motorsport in the same way after this Dakar . All the time, you think that you'll never get over this dune or through this fesh fesh. The Hans unit pulls your shoulders off, it's very physical. Your arms hurt, and so does your chest. I got out of the stage at ten pm, which is already crazy, but over ten hours later, there are some who are still out there ! You get beached, you get covered in sand, you get out the planks and shovels, you drive for hours without seeing anyone, neither competitors nor inhabitants...
Yesterday, I must have asked my navigator six times if he was sure we were on the right track, as we were so very much alone. What an adventure ! My thanks to Andre et Geraldine for having suggested that I try this incredible experience. "
Frederic Chavigny is Team Dessoude's Mr T2, with both the strength and the experience : " The last two special stages were really difficult, and we had quite a few problems with the various dunes to cross, but we are still here... and that is quite a victory in itself. ".
Pierrick Bonnet, with his KTM bike, is also still going strong, and is savouring every moment : " The most difficult aspect is the dunes. They are terrible and really exhausting for the bikers. We really do some things that are not normal at all... and the worst thing is that we keep on coming back for more...".
Tomorrow : Arica / Antofagasta -- Liaison 208 kms / Special Stage 611 kms This is the longest and most probably the most difficult stage of the Dakar. Even the leaders are likely to suffer...
-source: team dessoude