Team Dessoude stage 1 report

Team Dessoude takes the start of the 2011 Dakar !!

In front of a jubilant Argentine crowd, the Team Dessoude crews, led by Christian Lavieille and Jean Michel Polato, took the start of the 2011 Dakar. The menu includes around 9600 kilometres and 14 days of racing!

Once again, hundreds of thousands of people came to applaud the competitors, in the centre of Buenos Aires, totally captivated by this latest edition of the Dakar. It was in this exceptional atmosphere that the full Team Dessoude set off for their new adventure.

The first of the 'reds' to climb onto the starting podium was the number 312 of team leader Christian Lavieille, with his navigator Jean Michel Polato, who calmly appreciated these exceptional moments : " It was time to get underway. We are totally ready, and have been impatient to get going for a few days already. As usual, the welcome from Buenos Aires has been fantastic, and we have been much in demand, but it was actually on our arrival in Victoria that the crowds were the most pressing... There were so many people that everything was blocked, and we had to go the wrong way up the queues of cars belonging to the spectators, in order to save our clutch and to try to avoid the traffic jams ! The Argentine public is amazing and it is a real delight to be able to share moments like this with such passionate people."

Today's route included the official starting ceremony and a 377 kilometre liaison sector allowing the competitors to reach Victoria, the real starting point of the rally. At the foot of the podium, Andre Dessoude commented on the ground already covered : " And now, here we are ! It's a strange feeling, combining the relief of actually being at the start after a whole year of hard work, and a certain apprehension on looking at the map, considering the distance to be covered and the various difficulties on the way. The preparation is over, and the competition is underway. The team is now ready for the battle ahead. "

The second crew at the start was the nr 333, the Buggy of Isabelle Patissier and Thierry Delli Zotti, a real first for Isabelle's new vehicle, for which the 2011 Dakar will be a baptism of fire, competing in a particularly competitive category: " This 2011 edition of the Dakar is looking good, as the car is really well-designed, but the most incredible thing today is the crowd's enthusiasm! There were people along the whole route of the liaison sector, and a sixkilometre traffic jam on arrival at the bivouac -- it's like being on the Tour de France ! "

Immediately behind her was the nr 334 of David Deslandes and Alain Brousse. Visibly very enthusiastic, David, on his first Dakar, was delighted by the atmosphere and the ferveur of the Argentine public : " The atmosphere is completely crazy, and after the general briefing I couldn't contain my impatience -- I only wanted one thing, to get into the car and to start the event... The Dakar has only just started and I have already accumulated so many memories ! "

Frederic Chavigny and his co-driver Willy Alcaraz, behind the wheel of the nr 339, shared the team's general atmosphere : " For a few days, the pressure has been growing, and I couldn't wait to put on my racing overalls. This first stage of 377 kilometres will allow us to get our bearings with the vehicle, to check all the details, to test all the instruments in order to give a full report to the service crews this evening. Despite the enthusiasm of the crowd -- the press is talking of one million people over the day -- we have to keep our concentration, and it's not easy !"

The other members of Team Dessoude, Carlos Machado de Oliveira with co-driver Ricardo Manuel Trejeira Corticadas, and Chinese driver Hongzhi Guo and his navigator Denis Schurger, also caught the Argentine fever and are impatient to get underway with the first special stage.

On the more unusual side, the first-ever start of a motorbike bearing the Team Dessoude colours should be mentioned, with Norman biker Pierrick Bonnet. The last to get underway was the fast assistance truck, the nr 561, with the traditional concert of truck horns, to the delight of the public.

Salvador Servia, Oscar Montano and Vincent Debegny started almost two hours after the race cars, and will only arrive in Victoria late in the night. Team Dessoude's adventure is really underway...

-source: Team Dessoude

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Christian Lavieille , Isabelle Patissier , André Dessoude , Frédéric Chavigny , Pierrick Bonnet , Alain Brousse , Carlos Machado de Oliveira , Ricardo Manuel