Dakar Rally : Scrutineering
With four successes, Carlos Sainz led the way in the car category in terms of stages won in the 2006 edition of the Dakar. Unbeaten in Portugal, the Spanish driver is not counting out a repeat of last year's feat. The recipe he uses is nonetheless
a mix of prudence and attacking instinct, according to the WRC superstar:
"You have to be careful of making the smallest mistakes. On the Dakar, it's easy to lose a lot of time when trying to gain just a little bit more". In reality, Carlos Sainz is thinking especially of the Pink Lake as his goal, where he intends to make a marked improvement on his final ranking. He believes he is better prepared to achieve this than last year: "I'm glad I was able to take part in the Dubai, Tunisia and Morocco rallies this year".
Brown is the colour for Ludivine
Following on a few hours after one of her major rivals Patricia Watson-Miller, lady rider Ludivine Puy, a brunette this year, also submitted her new 450-cm3 bike to technical scrutineering.
The three-times French endurance champion and runner-up in the European championships will be taking part in her third Dakar this year. She finished 97th in 2005 and abandoned last year. "Mentally, it took time to get over my fall in 2006. Today, everything is fine and I'm playing to win in the women's race, even if Patricia is an excellent rider. Once again, I'm wary of the dunes. I especially don't want to have to drop out due to exhaustion…".
Robbie Allan: "I wish I was thirty years younger!"
Robbie Allan, the Dakar motorbike veteran, made a family outing of his appearance.
At 66 years old, the Scotsman, accompanied by his brother and wife, is discovering this year's edition of the Dakar: "I've never seen anything as big, it's extraordinary". Somewhat lost in the crowds, Allan admitted that he would have like to have been, "30 years younger". But never mind age, the sixty-something has only one fear:
"Not reaching Dakar. I also hope I won't make a laughing stock of myself during the first two stages. Afterwards, I will have got used to it and it should be ok". One last detail: Robbie Allan has never used a GPS… Roll on Africa!