|Dakar Rally 2014: Paraplegic Albert Llovera to start with Qatar MD Buggy.|
Albert Llovera will compete in the Dakar 2014 in the flags of the country "Qatar" together with his experienced French navigator Arnaud Debron. Llovera was born in 1966 and is a former alpine skier from Andorra.
He became the youngest athlete to compete in the Winter Olympics Sarajevo in 1984 at the age of 17. A year later while participating in the European Ski Cup, also in Sarajevo, he suffered a serious accident in one of the descents, which left him confined to a wheelchair with paraplegia beginning at lower back level. He has since taken up rallying, using cars with specially adapted hand controls.
"For three years now, I have been working to pull the Dakar project off. It was in 2013 when this wish became priority: Having won the Spanish rally championship in the group N and becoming third in this championship in 2012, my goal became Dakar 2014," Albert Llovera explains.
The person responsible for giving the Andorran driver the decisive boost he needed to achieve his wish to race in the Dakar was Dakar-winner Nasser Al-Attiyah: "Nasser believes in my chances - and his help, in every sense, has been decisive for this project to go ahead. This is the reason why I´m driving in the colours of Nasser´s homecountry Qatar," Llovera said.
"We made the deal during the Olympic Games in London. I just visited the official Dakar-presentation in Paris - Nasser Al-Attiyah was also there, and so were Carlos Sainz and Cyril Despres who also helped me to turn this project into reality."
He will drive an Optimus MD buggy prepared by the French [ MD RALLYSPORT ] team, which is equipped with a Chevrolet V8 engine - in 2013 the car reached the 9th position overall with Pascal Thomasse and Pascal Larroque.
"The buggy is a wide and tall vehicle, with a small cockpit, so I have to adapt to it," Llovera said. "Anyway, we have been trying to find a confortable driving position, with a more progressive and smoother acceleration than my Abarth Rallycar." For 2014 the car got new shock absorbers, modified cylinders and some more modifications.
2013/11/27 | 19:55 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS