Dakar 2006: administrative checks & scrutineering (Day 2)
Welcome to the Euromilhoes Lisboa-Dakar's day two of scrutineering. Quite a few big names are due to show up at the Belem Cultural Centre… More paper work and technical checks on over 250 vehicles. In the bike category,
almost all the favourites are expected. The KTM-Repsol riders return after going through the administrative part of scrutineering and asking for an extra day to prepare their bikes. They're will be a lot of orange but blue should really be the colour with the KTM-Gauloises armada and their title-holder Cyril Despres (KTM – n°1) who will this year be riding alongside Spaniard Isidre Esteve.
Concerning the car race, all eyes will be set on the Volkswagen team and their brand new Race Touareg II. All five drivers (Kleinschmidt, Sainz, Saby, De Villiers, Miller) will witness what promises to be a very warm welcome.
Finally in the truck category, Firdaus Kabirov (KAM – n°500), winner of the previous edition will be presenting his Kamaz machine alongside team mate and four-time champion Vladimir Tchaguine (KAM – n°508). The main rival of the Russian based team should be the DAF's of De Rooy father and son, also expected today.
René Metge: “Like war reporters on the Dakar”
Just before going through the traditional scrutineering, veteran René Metge (NIS - n°416) seems to enjoy the Portuguese sunshine with his friend and co-driver Bernard Chevalier, journalist for French sports newspaper L'Equipe. The three-time winner of the event (1981, 1984 and 1986) and head of the rally a year later, René is back for another Dakar with the ambition to tell the stories behind the scenes off the struggling privateers thanks the written words of his mate Bernard. “Taking off from Lisbon is perfect because it is a city of great travellers. I'm delighted to compete in the race with Bernard, two years after a first experience that left us great memories although we were forced to quit with only two stages remaining before the finish in Dakar. Added to the fact that he's a great story-teller, Bernard is a very good navigator. Our goal is to finish within the first 50 competitors every evening in order to take the time to stop on the side of the road and get some information like if we were war reporters on the Dakar.”
Henri Pescarolo: “Happy to be here”
Hopping out of his zebra-green buggy, Henri Pescarolo has a huge smile on his face. The Frenchman is back on the rally after a two year absence. “We're happy to be here”, admitted the 63-year-old driver. After an excellent season in endurance racing, Pescarolo found two weeks in his busy schedule to fulfil the ambitions of his sponsor: Technov that wanted have a car at the start of the Dakar. The four-time Le Mans winner will however take off without really knowing his machine “Just three hours of training in Alès. I will try not to forget that the race won't be won in Portugal or Spain and try to take advantage of the first stages to check out the car. My goal is to be between the 30th and 20th position in the early stages of the rally, around the 15th spot halfway through and maybe make it to 10th at the finish”.
Charley Boorman: “We're here to do our best”
Charley Boorman isn't quite a competitor like the others. Son of the famous film director John Boorman (Excalibur, Delivrance…), Charley was already part of a long bike expedition around the World alongside his mate Ewan McGregor that gave birth to a film documentary and a book called Long Way Round. This time, he has a whole new project for the Dakar. Sky TV has indeed chosen to follow this newcomer during the rally by launching a team with experienced rider Simon Pavey, as well as a cameraman (Matthew Hall) that will also be competing in the race. “I'm delighted to finally be able to start the race. I've dreamt of the Dakar for years without taking the time to do it. Now, only a few days way from the start, I'm both excited and slightly anxious because I know really understand what a big event this is. But we prepared well. Simon Pavey who will be riding alongside me has a lot of experience. There is therefore no reason why we shouldn't make it to Dakar. Anyhow, we're here to do our best".
Press Release Amaury Sport Organisation