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Back to school: Deskbound for the Dakar

2014-10-21 09:08

HOPEFULLY THERE WON’T BE TOO MUCH HOMEWORK First-time competitors of the Dakar attend a training course before the event in January 2015. Image: Supplied

PARIS, France - Before moving on to the real thing, a group of Dakar competitors have made the most of the theoretical explanations that were both detailed and tangible. The training course organised primarily for the newcomers is among the useful steps for a good preparation.

The Dakar drivers and crews are preparing to set off on a 9000km journey on the roads and tracks of Argentina, Chile and Bolivia. All already have solid experience, most often on adventures in the heart of the desert and have the skills to find a solution for most mechanical situations.

Nevertheless, for the first-timers on the event, the training courses held first in Paris then in Buenos Aires on November 15 are a very useful pre-event opportunity. On October 17, 28 competitors made the trip to hear precious advice from Mathieu Baumel, winner of the recent Morocco Rally as Nasser al-Attiyah's co-driver.

Among those present, Marc Meneghin, co-driver to Jean-Jacques Ratet in the rapid assistance vehicle for the lead Peugeot already at the end of the day recognized the expected benefits of this meeting.


Meneghin said: “To benefit from advice from experienced competitors is very much appreciated. They shared their know-how and offered a lot of advice that we now can't wait to use there. I have taken part in other rallies but the Dakar is a whole lot different.”

The co-existence between minutely orchestrated teams and amateurs who choose to do it all themselves, especially for service, is a specificity of the Dakar. David Casteau knew better than anyone else the full range of problems encountered by the pure amateurs, before becoming a contender in the general classification.

The Nice native, invited to share his experience, was particularly prolific with tips to avoid getting lost in the unusual daily life of the Dakar bivouac. This abundance of information will be useful to Laurent Moulin, who is entered without any assistance.

Moulin said: “I have already participated in two rallies and I am about to ride in my first Dakar. I remember everything that I experienced previously but this is 100 times bigger here. You really get a sense that the steamroller is up and running.”

For Laurent as for the others, there are some 10 weeks left to reach the level of the event.


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