The Emilie Poucan prize goes to Stephane Mantey
A press relations officer on the Dakar for several years, during the 2010 edition Emilie Poucan set up a competition open to all the accredited photographers, in order to reward the best photo taken of the race or behind the scenes. To pay tribute to this lover of photography and the Dakar who died in tragic circumstances during the course of last year, the organisers decided to name the prize given to the best photo after Emilie. Following deliberations, a photo taken by Stephane Mantey, based around a superb play on light and shadow, was the preferred work of the jury members. A journalist for the French sports daily newspaper L'Equipe, in 2010 Mantey also won the LCL prize for the year's best sports photo, with a picture taken on the Tour de France.
Sala-Coma: the winning formula
Giovanni Sala is a happy man. On the Dakar, as a team manager, he has a 100% record of success. The Italian, who this year was put in charge of the KTM MRW team, can consequently claim a contribution to the success of the 2011 winner, Marc Coma. For years after his last Dakar on a motorbike, Giovanni is, "very happy with my new job. I'm happy to be on the assistance route and meet the others. And in any case, I'm too old for riding the bikes". Following a third placed finish as a rider, the Tuscan can finally boast that he has a Dakar victory on his roll of honour, thanks to his personal touch. "On the Dakar, there is no strategy, you just need to accelerate and get a good result. So, I mainly devoted myself to ensure that Marc remained calm, stayed focused and though about the race. In short, I made his life difficult". Sala-Coma is a winning formula, just like in 2006, when the two men were team mates and took two of the three places available on the final podium. At the time, the young Coma won his first Dakar.
Juan Pablo Latrach receives the Henri Magne prize
On this day of podium ceremonies and honour, Juan Pablo Latrach is still wearing his race overalls, as if this second skin that he has worn since the start of January would not let go and wanted to prolong the pleasure of a Dakar rounded off with a 25th place for car 354 driven by his father, Jorge. However, the race is indeed finished, but it is sure that the young driver will remember it for a long time. At 21 years old, with 2 Dakars under his belt, this civil engineering student at the Los Andes University, also a rugby player, found himself thrown in to a rather specific circle: that of navigators renowned for their hard work and knowledge. Such considerable acclaim makes Juan Pablo a little bit nervous: "I was forced to focus on navigation, because my father does the driving. In any case, I like it. I'm really proud of this prize". Whilst awaiting his turn behind the wheel, he enabled one of the 3 Auto Gasco crews to finish the rally without any serious problems. Well, only one: "On the stage between Antofagasta and Copiapo, we were slowed down by a mechanical problem and we ended up finishing at night time. I can tell you, navigating at night is difficult". Already a prize winner and already looking to improve: the future belongs to Juan Pablo.
A very happy birthday!
For all the riders, drivers and co-pilots who reached the final finishing line of the Dakar, this 16th January is symbolically very important, as it represents the accomplishment of a project which is sometimes spread over several years. Two of them were also spoiled by the scheduling, since the podium ceremony landed on the day of their birthday. Vincent Guindani, who made his appearance on the Dakar this year without having taken part in any rally before, was celebrating his 30th birthday at the same time as his 42nd place on the rally: "I'm willing to party like this every year," was the enthusiastic comment from the man from Montauban. As for Brazilian Marlon Koerich, it was no less than the place of best debutant (14th) that he went looking for throughout the rally in preparation for his birthday. "It's enormous luck that they organised the ceremony for the occasion!" he joked.
Bivouacs in Chile: a step towards greater sustainability
In keeping with the concerns raised by ASO and Fundacion Imagen de Chile regarding various environmental aspects in the bivouacs, efforts have been deployed to ensure that the 2011 edition was more environmentally friendly.As such Fundacion Imagen de Chile, an agency in charge of positioning and promoting the image of Chile throughout the rest of the world, proposed a series of initiatives to ASO and also took it upon itself to draw up the rules for private institutions involved in the field of the environment. Following joint work lasting more than six months, the initiatives have borne fruit, and include the following:The significant contribution made by Fundacion Imagen de Chile for a mobile structure equipped with 16 solar panels and batteries capable of generating 5 kWph of electricity, used to provide the required energy to the official Chile tents in the bivouacs, permitting a considerable reduction of the need for diesel generators.