Dakar: Day seven "My Dakar" statements

Be A part of the Legend Everyday feelings of those who are not specially famous but who dare the challenge and give a dream for those who stay behind... Francis Couval GOLF RANDO - 120 The Little Prince of The Desert A few years ago, a...

Be A part of the Legend
Everyday feelings of those who are not specially famous but who dare the challenge and give a dream for those who stay behind...

Francis Couval GOLF RANDO - 120

The Little Prince of The Desert

A few years ago, a crazy story caught the eye of Dakar followers : that of Francis Couval riding two stages of the Dakar on... a mountain bike. At the time, Gerard Holtz, commentator for the French TV had called him the "little prince" (like Antoine de Saint-Exupery's book). When a few years later a art school teacher asked Couval to paint his bike, the idea of the little prince immediately came to his mind. In this year's edition, the biker is not only doing well because of his new protector.

Caution and inspiration were two qualities that allowed him to make it to Tan Tan in good condition and position. Problems however started after the second Morocan stage, between Er Rachidia and Ouarzazate. "I broke a support on my dashboard and found myself in a tricky situation. I was riding with no GPS so I lost myself a number of times. Luckily, I wasn't completely lost because I know this area. I however almost finished in Algeria, the border was only 15kms away". To repair, Couval used one of the many tricks that only experienced bikers know. "Now my dashboard holds thanks to a bit of tube tyre. Before starting the Dakar, I had cut bits of tube just in case because they make excellent elastics". Indeed this carpenter needs this reparation secrets having no spare parts.

The goal now is to get to the Lac Rose. "To get to the end I'll have to be very consistent. It's a question of reliability".

Alexandre Debanne - GROINE DEVELOPPEMENT - 249

From TV to Dakar

Looking at the start list if the 26th edition of the Telefonica Dakar, it appears that with Koen Wauters (Belgian singer), Alexandre Debanne (French TV host) is the only "star" of the race. Of course there are sporting celebrities such as Luc Alphand (former skier), Laurent Bourgnon (sailor) and "children of" like Paul Belmondo (son of Jean-Paul, the actor) and Sindiely Wade (daughter of Senegal president). With a tan he brought back from Sri Lanka, Debanne is hunted for autographs, even in Morocco.

The former TF1 presentator caught the rally virus in Morocco last May. "I loved the atmosphere and I love driving". For his first Dakar, Alexandre competes alongside Marc Joineau and his 12 rallies in the Gauloises team. "We didn't know each other but it's going well. Marc is a real desert fox. It's thanks to him if we are at this level today". After the 6th stage, the new duet is 41st overall ahead of... Ari Vatanen. "Let's stay calm and not forget what happened to Ari (engine problem). But I have to admit that I'll keep the standings in my personal archive".

Other than that, the driver is enjoying the first African kilometres. "We have achieved our goal so far : to drive at our rhythm". For the remaining stages of the Dakar the goal is not too ambitious : to get to Dakar without thinking of the overall.

-aso-

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Series Dakar
Drivers Luc Alphand , Ari Vatanen , Paul Belmondo , Alexandre Debanne , Marc Joineau , Koen Wauters