Dakar: Dr Ekkehard Martin - Volkswagen Motorsport interview

Three questions to team physician Dr Ekkehard Martin What is the job of a doctor during the Dakar Rally? "I provide universal medical support to the team -- as a general practitioner, sports physician as well as providing on-the-spot...

Three questions to team physician Dr Ekkehard Martin

What is the job of a doctor during the Dakar Rally?

"I provide universal medical support to the team -- as a general practitioner, sports physician as well as providing on-the-spot treatment in case of emergencies. Another important aspect is to prevent minor injuries from getting worse in the conditions prevailing in the desert. In toto, I have to ensure that all team members are fit for the job -- naturally, this particularly applies to the drivers."

What are the crucial aspects of taking care of the drivers?

"Owing to the difficult working conditions in the cockpit, the drivers are impaired even in case of minor indispositions. My job is to maintain the performance capabilities in the cockpits. For example, I treat colds at a very early stage to keep them from breaking out. Or I administer eye drops against the dust and, together with the physiotherapists, attend to problems with the spinal column that result from the extreme strains in the cockpit. Before and after the special stages I'm in contact with the drivers and co-drivers and ask them if there are any kind of problems."

What made the task of accompanying the Volkswagen factory team particularly attractive for you?

"I wanted to witness the work of the squad and be part of this top-calibre team. Also, it's been a unique opportunity to get to know regions of Africa you wouldn't visit as a tourist."

-credit: volkswagen motorsport

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Series Dakar
Teams Volkswagen Motorsport