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Dakar 2009: Worldchampion Michéle Mouton at the Dakar.

With a runner-up place in the rally championship in 1982 and four times World Champion, Michèle Mouton does not need an introduction. Today, this exceptional driver is ferrying journalists around on the Dakar and rediscovering Argentina, a country that delighted her more than twenty years ago, and which she had been dreaming to return to since.

"I discovered rally-raids with Peugeot in 1988 and 1989, when I was in the rapid assistance team for Vatanen and Jacky Ickx," explains Michèle, "and Alain Guéhennec, now with Terranova, was my co-pilot. In 2004, I took part in my first Dakar as a press driver with Jojo Groine and this year I really wanted to do it again. When the Communications Department at ASO asked me to be a press driver again, I jumped at the chance and I’ve taken my daughter, Jessie, with me as a navigator. Each day, I set off with the photographers or journalists, sometimes, on the race route, sometimes on the assistance route, according to what’s required. In the first special stages of the rally, the pampa was a bit monotonous, but yesterday the landscapes were wonderful! Since the start, the welcome the local population has given everyone is impressive. There are as many people at 5 o’clock in the morning as there are at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Today, it took us 2 hours to cover 20 kilometers."

"Rally-raids are something special. The life you lead during the race is unique and so are the people you meet. For fifteen days, we share everything: everyone sleeps in a tent, we hurry to eat breakfast and then we set off. It’s incredible that we are able to adapt and become used to it all. Yesterday evening, I slept near the BMW team and their noisy electricity generator was working all night!"

2009/01/09 | 15:13 CET | Editor: MR/HS/ASO

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