Rally Transiberico Nissan Aventure - Finish
After some suspence, the fourth and final leg of the Rally Transiberico, between Caceres and Estoril, was eventually to reveal the name of the overall winner : Giniel de Villiers. In the T2 category, Team Nissan Aventure kept out
of the fight, increasing its lead during each of the three loops. Christian Lavieille and Arnaud Debron claimed the category win, 35 minutes ahead of their nearest rival, Rui Sousa, a well-known Portuguese driver who was the Champion of Portugal in 2004 and finished second in the Bajas World Championship last year. Moreover, the popular Nissan Aventure duo finished in 8th position overall. A superb performance considering the quality of the field.
While yesterday's leg took place in Spain, the remaining competitors in the 2nd Transiberico Rally returned to Portugal today. The three loops, each 112 km long, were drawn up around the charming village of Castelo Branco. A technical circuit, favouring driving skills, but which hid a number of potential traps for the unwary.
Christian Lavieille, extremely concentrated throughout the three loops, did not give in to the pressure, and was even able to enjoy himself :
« The route was superb. At the start of the timed stage, it was a bit like a WRC stage. The first time round, the track was quite slippery and tricky. Afterwards, there were some faster sections through the olive groves, but the ground was not too rough. It was a real joy to drive a special stage like this one with the Pathfinder. We kept the right pace without pushing too hard. At the end of the first loop, we made some changes to the clutch, as I found the pedal a bit soft. Apart from that, there were no problems with the car. On the second and third times round, I was careful to keep to the right route.
I took care not to go too wide in the curves, in order not to slide on the gravel which had accumulated on the outside edges. The third time round, I didn't slow down. Great fun, and no risks whatsoever…
This race was extremely enriching for me, as it was necessary to keep up the pace from the start to the end. Competition was fierce in T2, and there were plenty of local drivers who knew the terrain well. I was ill during the first day, and I had to get to grips with the race. Moreover, this kind of event was totally new to me. But I must say that the organisation was excellent. The road book was well done, and the whole management team was very motivated. It is very pleasant to take part in motorsport in these sorts of conditions. I wanted to get my revenge after our misadventure in Tunisia, and I am very happy to have claimed this result in Portugal, where it was vitally important to score points. Two weeks before Morocco, we are now level with Jean Pierre Strugo in the World Cup classification. I am delighted for the whole team, for Nissan France and for all those who showed their confidence in me. The results are there. We made no mistakes, and Arnaud, once more, did an excellent job. The vehicle had no problems whatsoever. The small settings changes we made to the Pathfinder after Tunisia proved to be efficient, and we will continue to work in that direction. I am very confident for the rest of the season. »
Arnaud Debron, with his usual good humour, savoured this win, but could not help making a joke : « It's always fun to win, but this race was not very exciting for me as far as the navigation was concerned. I prefer the wide open spaces…. Christian was perfect from the start to the finish. The next event is Morocco, where I will be able to show what I can do… »
As for André Dessoude, the « boss » was delighted to see the Nissan Pathfinder cross the finish line : « I think we can say that this Rally Transiberico was a perfect race for us. I am very pleased with the crew and the way they ran this race. Moreover, when the Pathfinder is well driven, it shows that it is an extremely efficient car. It was a real pleasure to watch Christian on the special stages. His style is ‘clean' and delivers as far as the times are concerned. There were really no mistakes at all. We have the ideal crew here. There is some real competition in T2, and we had to fight hard, which makes this victory all the sweeter. There is an excellent atmosphere in the team, and good communication between the crew and the technical team. It is very pleasant to work in conditions like that. As soon as the car gets back to Saint Lô, we will give it a major service to prepare it for Morocco. But I must say that one of Christian's main qualities is that he really takes care of his equipment. The Pathfinder is in extremely good shape. There is not a single scratch on the car…Morale is high, and we will fight until the very end for the title. »
The next event in the World Cup for Cross Country Rallies is the Rallye ORPI Maroc, from May 30th to June 5th . Once again, the best teams will be taking part, and there will certainly be plenty of competition in the Production category…
Press Release Nissan Aventure