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Dakar 2009: Interview with L. Novitskiy and O. Tyupenkin (X-Raid).

MR: Could you please tell us some words about preparation of your crew and equipment to the Dakar?

Leonid Novitskiy: Preparation is well under way! We have started it long ago - we have held six races with BMW X-Raid Team on our new car, as a result we had a good possibility to test our car, to test all aggregates, we have determined and eliminated several structural defects. We also pull together with technical and administrative personnel of our team. We have already finished preparing our race-car and now we place emphasis on our physical trainings. Apart from gym in our nearest plans there is a week-long get-together of our team in Germany. There we will cover special highland adaption program, which will help us to feel better in the Andes.

MR: What do you feel about forthcoming Dakar? Do you fear a new continent and new route?

Leonid Novitskiy: Of course we do. The distance will be rather long, the continent is absolutely new and unexplored. Our co-pilot is always sitting in Google and is studying the terrain by satellite. The most important anxiety for me is what terrain and landscape shall we wait. This season’s performance has shown that exactly this factor plays the most important role and influences our competitiveness and stability. The European stages were not very simple for us and we were not always self-confident. But in Morocco or in UAE we showed better results because the terrain there was more familiar to us.

MR: Which objectives do you assign for forthcoming Dakar? What do you think will be the most difficult for you?

Oleg Tyupenkin: Podium!

Leonid Novitskiy: We are expecting podium, which is rather big in South America - there are as many as 10 positions, so it means that our objective is to be in top-10!

MR: What did you feel before the first and the second Dakar Rallys? Have your feelings changed now?

Leonid Novitskiy: Before our first Dakar everything was strange and unusual. We were racing with an Italian Team - Technosport, it was our first time with them. Also our car was absolutely new for us. We didn’t obtain such efficiency, that we were counting on for that race. Now we have different situation. We are going to race with factory team and we are expecting only the best results. We hope that embarrassing technical problems will stop pursuing us and we will be able to apply all our acquired skills and to pass this challenge worthily.

Oleg Tyupenkin: While participating in our first two Dakars we were basing an Olympic principle - the most important is participation and maybe finish. This year our objective is to have a result, as better as possible.

MR: In 2008 you had some serious changes in your team, how did you perceived them? How productive was your last season?

Leonid Novitskiy: It was a productive season for us - we gained a great experience, we learnt many new things about ideology which is used in factory team, about team’s tactics and at the same time we trashed out some personnel factors which influence the result. As to the results, to my personnel opinion, we didn’t show the best results, but generally our season was rather good!

MR: Do you usually analyze your performance and results after the race? Do you do corrections of mistakes?

Leonid Novitskiy: Yes of course, and this year we do it professionally and our team helps us actively in this question. A large amount of analytics is received by our team during a race; basically this material concerns technical specifications, running quality of the car, dependence between driving model and its efficiency etc. We also get good recommendations from team’s specialists. After a race we make general analysis, draw conclusions and try to take measures to improve the situation.

MR: Do you consider the Dakar to be the final race of sport calendar or it’s a starting stage of the new year sport season?

Leonid Novitskiy: At the moment it’s the final race of the year, but when we drive down the podium in Buenos-Aires, we will be able to say, that we would open new sport season.

MR: How do you choose races to participate in?

Leonid Novitskiy: This year to choose a race we just went by BMW X-Raid team’s sport calendar.

MR: What do you think will be with Dakar in future? Do you think that geographical changes of the race are regular or exceptional?

Leonid Novitskiy: I think that this year we had an exception. There is information that 2010 Dakar race will be brought back in Africa and will be held on the traditional route. But now it’s also very interesting to go to South America. I can’t even imagine that I would have gone there without such an excellent motive!

2008/12/02 | 00:54 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Xenia Dvoynikova

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