|SA-Dakar 2011: Team-presentation of French Team Dessoude for 2011 Dakar.|
For the French team Dessoude, the keyword for the third edition of the Dakar in South America is diversity. No fewer than eight vehicles will be entered in the race, and, for the first time, the team from Saint-Lô will be running a motorbike under its colours. The team will see six different countries represented: France, Spain, Portugal, Ukraine, China and Angola.
A few days before the cars are loaded on the ship at Le Havre, to head for Buenos Aires, André Dessoude, more motivated than ever, is already savouring his Dakar 2011, and gave a run-down of his team.
"The composition of our team opens up some fine possibilities. We will be present in nearly all the race categories. Four vehicles in the T1 category, including a brand new, twowheel-drive buggy, two cars in T2, one T4 truck and one motorbike. We will be no fewer than 35 at the bivouac, while on the assistance side we will enter four trucks and a car. Plenty of people and plenty of material to reach the end of this new adventure."
"But to build up a team like this, it was really a battle. The economy does not make things easy, and I think that this year we are really feeling the consequences of the overall crisis. As far as the crews, we are entering some rather surprising ‘duos’ and I must admit that I like the look of the list" Dessoude said. For the first time, a motorbike will be in the team: Pierrick Bonnet, a true amateur.
Among the cars, Christian Lavieille, together with Jean-Michel Polato, will continue behind the wheel of the Dessoude Proto 05. His second place in Tunisia proved the reliability and the performance of the Proto, but also the competitive nature and homogeneity of the crew. "Setting off at a careful pace, and without any major problems, they could definitely finish in the Top 10" Dessoude hoped.
For the second year in a row, Isabelle Patissier will be part of the team with Thierry Delli-Zotti in the right-hand seat. Entered in the two-wheel-drive category, she will drive a brand new Sadev Buggy, set up by Benoît Vincendeau. A small buggy, fun, inexpensive, and very competitive. "To take this gamble today, is to prepare for the future. This buggy has enormous potential for development, and Isabelle can definitely aim for a podium in the two-wheel-drive category" André Dessoude told.
The Proto 03 will be in the hands of the crew of Carlos Oliveira / Ricardo Corticadas from Angola. This crew was already part of the team for the 2008 Dakar, unfortunately the year that it was cancelled. Oliveira is a fast driver, but it will be necessary to channel his enthusiasm.
Still in T1, there will be again a Chinese driver in a Nissan Pathfinder. Hongzhi Guo will make his debut on the Dakar, but will be able to rely on Denis Schurger to show him the ropes. Schurger is a very experienced navigator, used to guiding Chinese drivers in this adventure.
Among the T2 cars, Frédéric Chavigny will take part in his third Dakar. Chavigny has made progress over the years, and each time he enters an event, he reaches the end and wins: Two wins on the Dakar and two in the Silkway in the T2 Petrol category. He will be driving under the colours of the Ukraine, and will be paired with the experienced navigator Willy Alcaraz.
From France, David Deslandes will take part in his first rally raid, but he is far from being a novice. David made an early start in motorsport. Having qualified on many occasions for the final of the French Rally Cup, he claimed his first title of French Hill-Climb Champion. The next year, he became the French Rallycross Champion, then finished second in 2009.
"To manage so many crews in the race means we need to count on a top-quality T4 truck crew" said André Dessoude. "This year, I think we are spoiled - Salvador Servia will drive our T4 and will be navigated by Jaime Puig. A very media-friendly crew, that I know particularly well from having had them in my team, both of them around ten years ago."
"On the technical side, I am happy to have an engineer I particularly appreciate and with whom we have already worked, Arnaud Elizagaray. Arnaud had joined us when Yvan Muller took part in the 2007 Dakar. With over 30 years of experience on the track or in rallies, his expertise will be vital to take us to a successful end of this event."
"Finally, I would like to mention our agreement with Team Mitsubishi Brazil. Team Dessoude will take care of the administrative and logistical assistance for Team Mitsubishi Brazil, meaning around fifteen people, one race car, one truck and two service vehicles. We will give them support in all the logistical and administrative planning while preparing for the Dakar, but also on the terrain. Thierry Viardot will be in charge of the technical side. Despite any rivalry that could build up between us on the track, I like the idea as having them as ‘neighbours’ in the bivouac."
As far as the route is concerned, André Dessoude is not expecting any radical changes: "On paper at least, the route looks similar to that we saw earlier this year. We will have to adapt to the conditions and there should be some fine special stages, but also some more difficult days. The negative side for us remains the altitude. Our atmospheric engines suffer considerably compared to the diesel engines. I like the Team Dessoude 2011 line-up, and I am more serene than I was this time last year. It’s time for the race."
2010/11/23 | 14:48 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/DESSOUDE