|Pharaons Rally: Interview with Jean-Louis Schlesser about Egyptian Rally.|
Jean-Louis Schlesser does not need any introduction. Class 1948, the “desert fox” enjoys an amazing palmares, built up in almost thirty years of competitions in the deserts of the whole world. He won two Dakar in 1999 and 2000, five Africa Eco Race (2009 to 2013), five World Championships, numerous success in many other rallies.
He’s back in Egypt since few years and it’s love at first sight. He also won Pharaons Rally in 2010 and 2011 and so it comes natural to become one of the favourites for the final victory. We’ve met him and we exchanged a couple of words on the Pharaons race.
MR: Being a lover of Pharaons Rally since many years, and being a winner there, how would you describe our race to a new entry that wishes to participate for the first time at the Egyptian race?
Schlesser: "The new comers to the Pharaons Rally will be very surprised when they see that huge desert, it’s truly only desert and big dunes. They will certainly be very happy to find out a real desert with nothing in it. This is very unusual for beginners and they probably will get a big “shock” at first."
MR: Do you think that the route, the length of the Selective Sections, the variety of terrains at Pharaons Rally are the best test to check the reliability of vehicles and the harmony among the people of the team?
Schlesser: "I think that Pharaons Rally is one of the best rally, it’s a great challenge where you can test your car while driving among the dunes. All the racers especially intended to go to the Africa Race will be very pleased at the Pharaons Rally. That is in fact a good training for people and cars for all teams."
MR: How do you live the magical and mystery of the desert while you run at 200 kmph and you're concentrated on the engine sound?
Schlesser: "That’s a good question. You know, living at very high speed is not so common, not many people can drive that fast. I feel I’m lucky to have this big chance to do what I like the most and to have the possibility to cross such a magnificent natural landscape."
MR: As organizer of the Africa Race, what do you think of the safety for the competitors because of the logistical support of the army?
Schlesser: "I think the good thing of Pharaons race is that we are racing all the time in the middle of the country, away from the population."
MR: What about the majesty of Cairo and the start at the Pyramids?
Schlesser: "It’s always nice to take pictures with the Pyramids on the background."
MR: What do you think of the quality of the road book and the special care about safety in the big dunes?
Schlesser: "The Pharaons Rally road book has reached very good quality since the last 3 years."
MR: Any comment on the special spirit of the Egyptian exclusive bivouacs in the middle of nowhere?
Schlesser: "The bivouacs in Egypt are very different from anywhere else and it’s always a pleasure to be there with friends during the briefing."
2013/08/06 | 17:15 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/BAUER