|20th Italian Baja: Greetings from French Citroen ex-champion Pierre Lartigue|
Unforgettable Pierre Lartigue! In the ‘90s he was the absolute leader of the World Cup for Cross Country Rally, gaining three consecutive Dakar (in 1994, 1995, 1996) and getting a poker win at the Italian Baja from 1994 to 1997.
Together with his trusted navigator Michel Perin, the French driver took the maximum advantage of the fantastic Citroen ZX Rally Raid, which demonstrated to be a powerful monster and a reliable vehicle in any situation.
As the Fuoristrada Club 4x4 Pordenone got in touch with him for the 20th Anniversary of the race, he reminded us: "I still keep a wonderful memory of the Italian Baja, in particularly of Mauro Tavella and his professional organization. In my opinion the Pordenone race is a very technical competition, completely different from all other Bajas."
"I could say it is the most interesting race, thanks of the variety of the track: Quick, long, narrow, woody and crossing riverbeds. Overtaking is easy without losing concentration. As for driving, it is therefore the best Baja."
It’s very kind of you, Pierre. Do you remember the edition 1997 of the race, I mean the Citroen duel versus Ari Vatanen? "That race was particularly hard because of two problems. First of all I had to keep an eye on Vatanen. An excellent driver. I knew he would have started at full speed, but his achille’s heel was the total absence of rationality, insomuch that he was K.O. already in the first lap (he flipped over)."
"I had to face the second problem at half track, because of the turbo breaking which obliged me to stay back of the best Italian drivers with their traditional 4x4 cars. I was able to gain time and seize the first position of the rank only thanks to the power of my ZX. A great satisfaction."
After so many seasons dedicated to races, what is Lartigue doing nowadays? "Since eight years I have been taking part in the opening of the FIA Cross Country Championship, as well as in ceremonies where I’m invited to receive some special prize and I’m also dealing with check tests of 4x4 vehicles in the name of Donnere shock absorbers, the best ones for this kind of race."
2013/02/24 | 19:15 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/RAGOGNA