After finishing 13th at the wheel of one of Robby Gordon's Hummers in 2009, he is now plotting a Top 10 comeback with his Trophy Truck.
He flies under the radar, which is one of his key strengths. A mere three months ago, Eric Vigouroux's comeback seemed unlikely, to say the least.
Beating the Minis and Toyotas fair and square is a great accomplishment which surprised even us. After that, they pushed me to put my name down for the Dakar, and it didn't take much convincing."
It was the start of a race against the clock for the driver who is based in the United States but has kept his workshops in southern France: "We had very little time left to refurbish the car before loading it onto the ship in Le Havre in late November, with several return trips which had to be taken care of.
It was a very risky thing to do, but then, that's the story of my life. And, most of the time, this is the style which suits me best."
If the Trophy Truck driver is over the moon, it is not because he is delighted to see the Dakar and its bivouacs again, but because he believes he can play a leading role in the greatest rally on Earth: "The Volkswagens' supremacy discouraged me for several years, as it was too difficult for us to leave a mark on the race with the means at our disposal.
But now the rally is wide open." explains Vigouroux. "It wouldn't be fair to say that all the best riders were in Morocco, as Peterhansel wasn't there, but we were able to match the best cars inch for inch.
So I'll be disappointed if I don't get into the Top 10. From there, the goal will be to finish on the podium. But it's also important to remain humble when you know all the things which can happen in a Dakar."
This season's most awaited comeback kid is also humble away from the tracks, which is why he invited the Hands United for Children organisation (www.handsunited4children.org) to display its livery on all the vehicles of his team.
The best way to get lots of air time for them will be to stay at the front of the race!