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Silk Way Rally: Dessoude´s Lavieille - "Aim is to finish in Top 5".

The Silk Way Rally, part of the Dakar Series this year, is a Cross-Country rally event reserved for cars and trucks. It will take place from September 5th to 13th, crossing three countries and their extremely varied landscapes: Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. The event will start in Kazan, the capital city of Tatarstan, a Russian province, and will finish in Ashgabat, the Turkmenistan capital.

The competitors, as enthusiastic as ever at the idea of taking part in a new event, will do battle over the 4,500 km route, including 3,200 km of timed stages. In this context, the French Team Dessoude will enter no fewer than five cars, including the Proto 03, entrusted to the ‘house driver’ Christian Lavieille, whose navigator will be Jean-Michel Polato again.

A Nissan Pathfinder T2 will see the return of the crew of Frédéric Chavigny and Stéphane Singery, who took part in their first Dakar in January 2009, and succeeded in reaching Buenos Aires after three weeks of intense racing. They have definitely caught the rally raid virus, and this time they will be driving through the sort of scenery they see quite regularly for professional reasons.

The team from Saint-Lo will also be entering three recently-built Nissan Patrol cars, which will be in the hands of three crews from Turkmenistan : the first will be driven by Nazarov Hydyrguly and Ovliyaguliyev Mergengeldi, the second by Annayev Agamyrat and Orazmedov Orazmyrat and the third by Swiridenko Andrey and Rassulow Erkin.

For André Dessoude, to take part in an event means a 100% commitment to getting the best result possible. "With five cars taking part, we have quite a big team. The entry of the three crews from Turkmenistan is the result of a governmental project with which we were directly involved. Turkmenistan is very enthusiastic about seeing its crews racing at home" said Dessoude.

"We are happy to see Frédéric (Chavigny) and Stéphane (Singery) back again. On the Dakar, they showed themselves to be very thorough and hardworking. This paid off, as they reached the finish line, winning the T2 Petrol category on their first Dakar, and, moreover, really enjoying themselves.

Finally, Christian Lavieille and Jean-Michel Polato will meet again on the Silk Way, after winning the 2008 Rally of the Pharaons Rally in Egypt. They will be driving the Proto 03. Like for every new race, I am wary of making any predictions. But we have a good idea of the terrain we will be crossing, as it goes over that of the old Masters Rally, it is never easy to judge without any recent references. We will adapt our strategy in consequence."

After his magnificent second place in the Rally of Tunisia back in April, Christian Lavielle will be getting back behind the wheel for Team Dessoude. This time, however, the N05 will stay back in the Saint-Lô workshop, and the driver from the Var will use the Pickup 03 to face some mighty rivals. Christian is facing this event serenely, with confidence high: "I am always happy when I am taking part in a new event. Discovering new locations and previously unknown special stages is something that delights me. Moreover, I will be back with Jean-Michel, with whom I won the 2008 Pharaohs rally.

We get on very well, and there is always a good atmosphere in the cockpit. With around 60 cars taking part, including some buggies, the field looks very interesting, even if the official Volkswagen cars will be difficult to beat. The aim is to finish in the Top 5, behind them, but it is very difficult to make any predictions on an unknown event, for which we have no data. We will be driving the Pickup 03. In technical sections, the car is very agile and gets over obstacles extremely well.

The front drive is incredibly precise, and the Pickup becomes very easy to handle. This type of event is good preparation for the Dakar. Physically, I worked quite hard this summer. I started mountaineering, and climbed Mount Rose. It was a superb experience, both physically and mentally. Otherwise, on a daily basis, I cycle and swim, to be in shape. I am really looking forward to taking part in the Silk Way; moreover, the whole team is really motivated, starting with the ‘boss’, André Dessoude!"

2009/09/04 | 12:09 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Lydie Arpizou

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