Dakar 2006 Rally Raid: Team Gauloises Sperrer - Finish
It was the end of a dream as engine problems with their Buggy put a sudden end to Raphael Sperrer and Ola Floene's dream of finishing the Dakar rally, just one day from the finish. Ola is still in Dakar and speaks about
his first ever Dakar Rally.What is your overall impression about this rally ?
Firstly, I would like to underline that it was a completely new challenge and I just didn't know what to expect. I would also stress that you need to be quick to adapt to do well in this rally. Everything keeps changing all the time, and changing very fast. Every day it's a completely new experience. Every single moment was a permanent discovery. My surprise and even astonishment started with very simple things: I had never seen the desert before. My main memory of Dakar 2006 is linked to colours: The sky, so blue and so deep and the dunes so yellow and sandy and treacherous when you get caught in one and have to start digging. Every second of the rally demanded you did a different role at only a moment's notice. Will you go back next year ?
Of course if I can, I would love to come back. It should be much easier I imagine because I have learnt so much this time. This Dakar rally is nothing that you can relate to - nothing like normal rallying. Even how you prepare yourself for each long day is different. Your concentration level needs to be very high all the time. Now I know exactly what is needed to compete in this Rally. At least, I can say I have lived through an incredible experience and I will do my best to live through it again next year and implement what I learned. What is your strongest image and take away ?
Well I suppose the start in Lisbon. To be on the start podium and to know at this very moment that I was about to embark on the dream of my life and make my dream come true. Do you remember of a detail or an image when your dream broke apart ?
When the car went funny and stopped then we saw the helicopter dash to us. The TV crew was there and the interviewer started to ask my feelings in English and then they wanted me to repeat in Norvegian. I suddenly felt so sad and got a bit homesick having to speak Norwegian after such a long time, I suppose… there was a lot of emotion and I thought that I was going to really burst out in tears and cry. I suppose it was simply hard to describe in words how disappointed I was and that we were not going to make it to the finish, when we got so close.Do you believe in "bad luck" ?
Not really although sometimes I have the impression that I was not born lucky...What would you have done different ?
I would have done some different physical and psychological preparation for the rally, now I know what to expect. It's a completely different approach than for a normal rally. You need a different approach and system for Dakar. You need a different psychological approach. It is tougher, harder and you are alone. These are things that you learn how to manage. Did you have a weakness ?
Possibly during the last two days I was weak. For the first time, I was feeling that I could not do a proper job. I was suffering terribly from the heat and getting awfully tired and dizzy. The heat was terribly uncomfortable. Did you have strong points during the rally ?
Certainly I was always relaxed and was able to trust myself for quick decision making. This is a real asset when you do not have any right to errors. If you sum up the rally in one sentence what would you say ?
The biggest adventure in my life ever". These 14 days in the rally have been an incredible adventure and the most difficult event I have ever experienced.What are you going to do before the next Dakar Rally ?
Well, go on with my everyday life: My next rally is next week in Norway. After Norway, in January and February, I will rally in Sweden. Then in March I'll possibly take up a new opportunity to participate in the World Championship Rally International and then it will be time for some quick and serious preparation ! Do you have anything else you'd like to say ?
I would like to thank the sponsors who made this adventure possible. I would also like to say thank you to the assistance team who did a fantastic job and of course thank my driver Raphael for making it possible to come so far and to get as high up the classification as we did. Without their knowledge and talent I don't know where I would have been. The memories of all the sand and dust will be forever ingrained on my mind.
Press Release Team Gauloises Sperrer