Dakar Rally : Scrutineering
Yvan Muller encountered his first Dakar technical scrutineering shrouded in the Lisbon mist. The newcomer to the rally-raid does not what to put too much pressure on himself. "I've taken part in so many different motor sport disciplines that it
was about time I came to the Dakar. I've been thinking about it for three or four years. However, I'm mainly here to learn, do my job and finish the race", announced the man from Alsace, sitting proudly on the bonnet of his Dessoude team Nissan Proto 05. After the ice in the Andros Trophy and the WTCC circuits, Muller is about have his first taste of sand.
In support of this valorous novice, there is nothing quite like the experience and knowledge of the Dakar possessed by his co-pilot René Metge, three-times winner of the rally.
Five solo-drivers behind Gache-designed wheels
Philippe Gache, designer of a single-place buggy with an attractive look and blueprint, made a noticeable arrival at the Belem Cultural Centre car park. "What is reassuring is that the car appears to be very reliable. At any rate, after tests in Tunisia, we haven't had to change any parts. I've also been very pleasantly surprised by the performance level, which is much higher than we expected", declared the driver, stood in front of his black buggy.
Five of these vehicles powered by Porsche engines will be running the race, including one driven by former co-pilot Philippe Monnet. Philippe Gache is not hiding his main fear: "I'm a little worried about having to navigate as well as driving flat out. The frustration of having to slow down can be difficult to deal with. Fortunately, I've asked for a few hints from my bike-riding friends".
Portugal looks to the future
Whilst visiting the technical and administrative scrutineering site on Thursday, Sports Minister Pedro Silva Pereira underlined the desire of the Portuguese government to welcome the grand start of the Dakar beyond the currently agreed terms which bind the organisers until at least 2008: "It is in the country's interest for the Dakar rally to start from Portugal and this will still be the case after next year's edition", declared Mr. Pereira. "We want to continue our support for this event in the future. You have to understand that others would like to have the Dakar start in their country due to the impact this would have in the media", added Mr. Pereira