2007 Paris-Dakar News Review

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2007 Paris-Dakar News Review

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2007 Paris-Dakar News Review
Monday, January 8, 2007 - Dakar - dakar.com

03-01-2007 - A new target for Sébastien Flute

Sébastien Flute, world archery champion in 1991, Olympic champion in 1992 then world champion in the team event in 1993, is also a desert and motor sports enthusiast. "When I was ten years old, we went on holiday to Djibouti for a fortnight. My father was serving in the navy and had been posted there for a year. I discovered Africa and the desert on that holiday and I have been hooked ever since". This year, Sébastien Flute is taking part for the first time in the organization of the rally. Along with Bruno Cretenet, he is in charge of checking whether the competitors pass through the various checkpoints spread over the course. Might this be a first step towards competing one day? "At one time or another, it has to be every enthusiast’s dream", readily admits Sébastien Flute. For the moment, it is one step at a time, though: "Right now, my mind is focused on the next three weeks of the race and my mission of validating passage controls, making sure I am at the various checkpoints and so on". The target may have changed, but true to form, Sébastien Flute wants to hit the bull’s-eye.

02-01-2007 - Jean-Joseph, la vie en rose

Simon Jean-Joseph, the Martinique driver who distinguished himself on the roads of the WRC before switching to the Dakar two years ago, is preparing for an even more delicate exercise in this 29th edition. Although Jean-Joseph has previously raced on regular rally cars, the European Super 1600 champion has been bitten by the buggy bug! “Jean-Jo” arrives in Lisbon with a machine designed by Fast and Speed. His buggy was built around the car that enabled Thierry Magnaldi to finish 8th in the 2005 Dakar! In addition to the new technical improvements which will allow him to consider a 10 position, “Jean-Jo” is already sure to win the award for the most visible car with this buggy that has already been nicknamed the “pink grasshopper”. After a few days off with his family, this rookie in the world of two-wheel-drive cars will start the Dakar with no great haste: “Appetite comes with eating. We will take it easy at the beginning. I will use the first two specials in Portugal to get used to the car, because I have not had enough time to ride it as much as I wanted”.

30-12-2006 - Verhoeven keeps adding kilometres
The KTM Gauloises Team returns to the Dakar with the ambition of recovering the title lost last year by Cyril Despres (Marc Coma won the 2006 edition) and has hired Frans Verhoeven as a support rider for its team leaders. Frans is the first Dutchman hired by an official motorbike team for the Dakar and is working very hard to prepare his biggest challenge of the year: “I still ride every other morning, for six or seven hours, in the woods in the region where I live in Belgium. I need to keep practising in order not to lose pace”, explains Verhoeven. His team mates, Cyril Despres, Isidre Esteve and David Casteu have chosen to take a rest after their last group practice in Pordenone, Italy where the team trained for two days and adjusted the suspensions of their KTM 660.

29-12-2006 - Only one car for Schlesser
Jean-Louis Schlesser maintained the suspense long enough concerning the number of Schlesser buggies on the Dakar 2007. The truth is that the decision depended on the signature of a deal with a possible sponsor that eventually withdrew a few days before the deadline. The winner of the 1999 and 2000 editions, who registered three cars last year, is now forced to race the Dakar with one single blue buggy driven by himself with Arnaud Debron as a co-driver: “Above all I am disappointed for Josep-Maria Servia, who will finally not be present this year. For the rest, it does not change many things in the organisation of the team. I am leaving with the same number of mechanics and the same equipment”. Regarding the strategy, this bad news does not undermine the moral of “Schless” who, as always, only thinks about victory. And the driver-manufacturer reminds all his rivals that “I have never driven faster than when I was alone”.

28-12-2006 - Chicherit already on the trails
Guerlain Chicherit, who finished 9th in the overall standing of the 2006 edition and won his first special on the rally in the Tambacounda – Dakar stage, has spent the rest of the year at full speed. No sooner had he returned from Dakar that he joined his old friends from the World Extreme Skiing Championship. Four World Championship legs later, he became anew World Extreme Skiing Champion as in 1999 and 2002! And Guerlain already plans on defending his title in the 2007 season! While he is waiting for the Dakar to start, he is polishing up his preparation for the future free-ride competitions: “The truth is that I already trained a lot this summer and I am only taking these few days to relax and ski with my friends near my hometown, Tignes, and to stay in contact with the snow”.

27-12-2006 - Ullevalseter: “I will be very happy with a 5th position”

In this discipline which brings together competitors of very different levels, Ullevalseter is precisely the type of driver that is hard to categorise. Not really a professional, since he does not enjoy the support of a professional group like KTM, Pal Anders is not just a “privateer” either. Thanks to his talent as a rider and his experience as a biker (he started motocrossing in 1987), he has been able to stand up to the best factory riders for a few seasons now.
Pal Anders Ullevalseter started his first rally raid five years ago with the UAE Desert Challenge. Since then, Pal Anders has been quite discreet but highly effective and has become one of the most regular riders on the Dakar. He finished in the 10 in his first three editions: 9th in 2002, 7th in 2003 and 5th in 2004. In 2005, a fall and a broken collarbone forced the Norwegian to withdraw. Finally, he was able to live up to his reputation and get back on track in 2006 with a 6th position.
The Scandinavian, who claimed a bitter World Title in 2004 (he won the Pharaons Rally after the collective withdrawal of Richard Sainct’s team mates), has competed with the best during the entire 2006 season, finishing 3rd in the World Championship and second in the overall standing at the foot of the pyramids in the Pharaons Rally. Pal Anders knows the limits of his bike and does not consider racing for victory against the first three or four major contenders: “I know that my bike’s maximum speed is not high enough to compete with the very competitors on the fastest stages. So on those days I will try not to lose too much time and I will try to compensate on the technical stages. I will be very happy again if I finish this Dakar around the 5th position”.

23-12-2006 - The route modified

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has advised against the organisation of the 10th and 11th stages of the 29th edition of the Dakar. The rally organisers, who resolved to follow the recommendations of the Ministry, have thus decided to cancel the two Nema-Timbuktu and Timbuktu-Nema stages, programmed for the 16th and 17th of January 2007. In spite of the extensive surveillance and the guarantees provided by the Mali authorities, this precautionary measure is vital in safeguarding the security of the competitors.
Initially planed in Timbuktu, the appointment with Mali where the welcome of the spectators confirms the interest of the nation’s leaders for the Dakar, will be pushed two days later.
The sporting teams of the rally having considered an alternative solution, a loop stage Nema-Nema, including a timed sector of 376 kilometres, will be organised on the 16th of January. The following day, the competitors will enjoy half a rest day, and will then take to the road for a liaison stage of approximately 280 km towards Ayoun-el-Atrous (Mauritania), where the start of the stage will be given on the 18th January, towards Kayes (Mali).
06/01/07 Lisbonne Portimão 115 km 117 km 232 km 464 km
07/01/07 Portimão Málaga 15 km 67 km 463 km 545 km
08/01/07 Nador Er Rachidia 205 km 252 km 191 km 648 km
09/01/07 Er Rachidia Ouarzazate 96 km 405 km 178 km 679 km
10/01/07 Ouarzazate Tan Tan 164 km 325 km 279 km 768 km
11/01/07 Tan Tan Zouérat 414 km 394 km 9 km 817 km
12/01/07 Zouérat Atâr 4 km 542 km 34 km 580 km
13/01/07 Journée de repos à Atâr
14/01/07 Atâr Tichit 35 km 589 km 2 km 626 km
15/01/07 Tichit Néma - 494 km 3 km 497 km
16/01/07 Néma Néma 10 km 366 km 24 km 400 km
17/01/07 Néma Ayoun 280 km - - 280 km
18/01/07 Ayoun Kayes 110 km 257 km 117 km 484 km
19/01/07 Kayes Tambacounda 180 km 260 km 18 km 458 km
20/01/07 Tambacounda Dakar 124 km 225 km 227 km 576 km
21/01/07 Dakar Dakar 36 km 16 km 41 km 93 km
TOTAL 1 788 km 4 309 km 1 818 km 7 915 km

18-12-2006 - A special at the Lac Rose
The 29th edition of the Dakar will finish after a 15th special covered on the shores of the Lac Rose on Sunday the 21st of January 2007. After having considered a Lac Rose Grand-Prix on a circuit designed on the beach, the rally organisers have finally decided to plan a traditional stage that will be held on a modified course compared to the previous years. Instead of 31 kilometres, the course of the final special will only be 16 kilometres long in order to deal with the security of the spectators and preserve the environment of the site. The final standings will therefore be released after this 15th stage at the moment of the prize giving ceremony on the podium.

16-11-2006 - 2007 Dakar: a spicy cocktail

This morning, the organisers unveiled the details of the course of the 29th edition of the Euromilhões Lisboa-Dakar 2007 rally, that will take place from the 6th to the 21st of January 2007. After discovering the Portuguese capital last year, the competitors will once again take off from Lisbon, for a long 8696 kilometre road including 5010 kilometres of timed specials during the fourteen stages to be covered. The drivers and bikers will first battle it out during two specials in Portugal, will then cross the Mediterranean sea by boat and visit Morocco, Mauritania, Mali and Senegal where the final overall standing will be established after the stage going from Tambacounda to Dakar, on Saturday the 20th of January. The following day, the remaining competitors will take part in the first Grand Prix du Lac Rose, a show race organised on a closed circuit on the beach where the traditional podium ceremony will be organised.
» See the route in flash

15-11-2006 - The organisers in contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
In reaction to several articles mentioning presumed menaces on the security of the event, the organisers insist on claiming that the official information given out by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs on one side and the local authorities of the countries concerned on the other, suggest in no way the cancelling or modification of one or several stages. Generally speaking, the course of the rally is submitted for advice to the appropriate administrations both in France and in the countries concerned. Work meetings on a regular basis with the people in charge of international security allow the organisers to have a clear vision of the situation and its evolution. According to the information that could be given out later, appropriate measures would naturally be taken to safeguard the security of the rally and its competitors.

17-10-2006 - A Thierry Sabine school in Lompoul/mer

In Senegal, the memory of the Paris – Dakar creator is linked to a mutual will to bring together the people of the two continents. It is this approach that has pushed SOS Sahel to set in the area of Louga, the ‘Actions Dakar’ for the last four years. On the occasion of the annual results concerning the operations launched for the preservation of the environement, the representatives of the rally and of Actions Dakar have taken part in the unveiling of a new elementary school in the common of Lompoul/mer, where the Dakar caravane had sped during the first three editions. Invited to cut the ribbon by the school director and by area prefect Mr Sarr, Roger Kalmanovitz, head of security and exterior relations for the Dakar witnessed many messages of sympathy on behalf of the future pupils and especially their parents who keep in mind the fond memories of the first Dakar rallies.

29-09-2006 - Vatanen on the Dakar with Volkswagen

The Volkswagen team has released the name of its fourth driver for the upcoming 2007 Dakar. The recruit of the year for the German brand that has decided to do without Bruno Saby and Jutta Kleinschmidt, is therefore Ari Vatanen, four time winner of the event. The Finn who had not competed in the 2006 edition will indeed be back on the Dakar alongside Italian co-driver Fabrizia Pons.
"We are delighted to welcome an other experienced and winning driver in the Volkswagen Team with Ari Vatanen", announced Kris Nissen, Director of Volkswagen Motorsport. "He brings with him not only the experience of a four time winner of the Dakar Rally but also all the knowledge he has as a former traditionnal rally driver. A rare combination". During the months of July and September, Vatanen already tested the Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 in Tunisia and Morocco. "Ari convinced the whole team thanks to his knowledge and his will to compete", declared Kris Nissen. "During a fitness test in Madrid, he proved he was well in shape".
"I am eager to take off for this new challenge", mentionned Ari Vatanen. "Volkswagen continues its Dakar project with a lot of ambition and big motivation, I absolutely wanted to be part of it. During the tests, I was already able to check the Race Touareg and work with the team. I am convinced that the car, the team and myself have a chance of claiming victory". The WRC rally champion in 1981 and winner of the Dakar in 1987, 1989, 1990 and 1991 will compete alongside someone he knows just too well in the Volkswagen factory team: indeed in 1994, the 54 year old Finn had started the rally World championship with Fabrizia Pons. In 1995, the Vatanen/Pons duo had also competed in some of the FIA rally-raid World Cup legs. "Fabrizia was the one I preferred to have with me in the cockpit", claimed Vatanen. "She is a partner I know well and who I can trust at a 100 %."
The Volkswagen teams for the 2007 Dakar:

Carlos Sainz / Michel Perrin
Ari Vatanen / Fabrizia Pons
Giniel De Villiers / Dirk Von Zitzewitz
Mark Miller / Ralph Pitchford

29-09-2006 - A new Pajero for Alphand and "Peter"

The two last winners of the Dakar in the car category, Luc Alphand and Stéphane Peterhansel, will try to continue the domination of the Japanese brand in the rally with a new modified vehicle compared to the 2006 version. The brand new red and white 4x4 was unveiled to the press during the Paris car festival (Salon de l’Automobile) last Thursday.
The four crews that will start the rally in the Mitsubishi squad came to comment the performances of their new machine that remains a favourite for final victory in Dakar. "We’ve had a lot of tests in Africa this summer", explained Peterhansel. "We’ve worked a lot on the center of gravity, aerodynamics, the geometry of suspensions and all that was validated by 12.000kms of testing in Morocco. The result is very satisfying".
The Pajero prepared for the 2007 Dakar will be tested a final time in race conditions during the Dubai rally at the beginning of November. "We believe that the car is reliable, fast and should perform well but we’ll have confirmation of that in Dubaï in very hot conditions. If we have any problems in Dubaï, we’ll still have the time to work on them before the Dakar".
The four Mitsubishi crews for the 2007 Dakar:

Luc Alphand / Gilles Picard
Stéphane Peterhansel / Jean-Paul Cottret
Hiroshi Masuoka / Pascal Maimon
Nani Roma / Lucas Cruz

25-09-2006 - Dakar Enduro Challenge FFM: Planet earns his place

It took just as much cold-blood as speed for Fabien Planet to add to his record the first Dakar Enduro Challenge FFM title as well as the first position of the French Enduro Championship. Thanks to this double award, the happy winner is sure of taking part in the 2007 Dakar where he will be competing for free. To earn this honour, Fabien Planet had to battle hard with Sébastien Guillaume who shared first position of the challenge just before the final round in Noirétable. After the first five specials of the weekend, the gap between the two riders was still only of seven tenths of a second. In the final exercise, Planet carried on in fine fashion while Guillaume lost precious seconds after falling. He then just had to hang on.
Although being a beginner in the World’s biggest rally-raid Fabien Planet has all the chances of worrying the best specialists of the discipline. Fourth of the enduro World championships in 2005, this young "wolf" has quite a few qualities he can count on. Among the "Armée de Terre - FFM"(army) team that bunches the best young French riders, he indeed followed the best possible training. Before testing himself in the Dakar, Planet will have another chance of competing with some of his rivals during the month of January: the enduro World championships that will be staged in New-Zealand from the 14th to the 19th of November.

18-09-2006 - Yvan Muller, a newcomer in the sand

The project had already been imagined. It has finally come true. Multi-disciplined driver Yvan Muller who has won on ten occasions the ice-driving Andros trophy, will be taking part in his very first Dakar during the 29th edition of the event that will take place from the 6th to the 21st of January 2007. The Frenchman will finally be driving a Nissan Pick-up prepared by the Dessoude and Oreca teams for his very first experience in a rally-raid.
Competing since the beginning of the year in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) in a Seat Leon prepared by Oreca, Muller still has to finish his season in style before switching to a whole new discipline. Currently fourth of the championship, he will be taking part in the last three legs in Istanbul, Valencia and Macau with high expectations. It’ll then be time to focus on his new challenge although he wants to remain realistic: "My ambition is to come and learn, to gain as much experience as possible in this new speciality for me and prepare for the following editions". Wait and see, the Frenchman will be on the start line in Lisbon on the 6th of January.

18-09-2006 - Actions Dakar in Mauritania

The program to help in the protecton of the African environment launched by the organisers of the Dakar rally in partnership with SOS Sahel is starting its fifth year. Since 2002, the projects initiated by local groups and supported by Actions Dakar allow to develop good environmental practices and help improve the hygien measures in the area of Louga, east of Senegal. This year, the organisers of the rally have decided to extend the zone of the program: Actions Dakar will now be present in Mauritania. The first projects have already been selected and are about to start in the cities of Tiguent and Ouad Naga where a system to collect waste disposal will be set up.
The development of Actions Dakar to Mauritania globally answers a growing interest on behalf of the villagers and citizens concerned that submit more and more projects. In Senegal, the latest session for project selection benefiting from the funds of Actions Dakar received over 47 cases and the evolution proves that quality is as present as quantity. 32 new projects have already been selected by the rally organisers including 15 in the country side and 17 in urban areas. Since the beginning of the program, a total of 106 Actions Dakar projects have been supported, acting directly on the life conditions of around 200 000 people.

21-07-2006 - New technical regulations change for the car category

The 2007 regulations for cars and motorbikes will be send in september. Discover the main change in the 2007 car technical regulations:


3.1 Cars are required to comply to a minimum weight limit as a function of their cubic capacity:
In cm3 4x4 2WD
Up to 1600 1150 kg 860 kg
Over 1600 to 2000 1350 kg 980 kg
Over 2000 to 2250 1500 kg 1010 kg
Over 2250 to 2500 1600 kg 1040 kg
Over 2500 to 2750 1637,5 kg 1070 kg
Over 2750 to 3000 1675 kg 1100 kg
Over 3000 to 3250 1712,5 kg 1130 kg
Over 3250 to 3500 1750 kg 1160 kg
Over 3500 to 3750 1787,5 kg 1190 kg
Over 3750 to 4000 1825 kg 1220 kg
Over 4000 to 4250 1862,5 kg 1250 kg
Over 4250 to 4500 1900 kg 1280 kg
Over 4500 to 4750 1937,5 kg 1310 kg
Over 4750 to 5000 1975 kg 1340 kg
Over 5000 to 5250 2012,5 kg 1370 kg
Over 5250 2050 kg 1400 kg


4P.1.1) Air restrictor:Over 5250 cc engines are free. They must use at the most an air restrictor of 37.2 mm and disactivate all variable exhaust / admission systems.For candidates with other types of engines, an acceptance file must be presented a minimum of 3 months ahead of the closure of entries.

14-06-2006 - 2007 Dakar: entries closed in all categories

The organisers of the Dakar rally announce that entries for all categories are now closed. Only two days after having announced that entries for the motorcycle category were closed for the 2007 edition, the maximum number of entries in all categories has now been reached.
On the 12th of June, 240 complete entries had already been received for the car category for 185 available places at the start in Lisbon on the 6th of January.
More than one hundred entries were received for the truck category with only 80 places available at the start.
Entries for the assistance category have also reached their maximum quota.
Etienne Lavigne, the Director of the Euromilhoes Dakar, is delighted with this extraordinary success: "For the 3rd year running, the maximum number of entries for the Dakar has been reached well before the start. This reflects, once again, the keen international interest in the values of the rally-raid in the world."

12-06-2006 - 2007 Dakar: Entries closed for motorcycles

The organisers of the Dakar rally announce that entries for the motorcycle category are now closed for the 2007 edition. On the 8th of June, only seven days after the opening of entries, 330 complete entries had already been received. Nevertheless, the limit fixed for 240 riders at the start in Lisbon on the 6th of January next remains unchanged.

05-06-2006 - Death of Henri Magne during the Morocco rally

The organisers of the Dakar have learnt with great sadness the death of Henri Magne, co-driver of Joan "Nani" Roma, on the course of the last stage of the Morocco rally. The management and all the organising team of the Dakar shares the pain of his relatives.
A very talented and experienced co-driver, Henri Magne had competed in his first Dakar back in 1982 alongside Christian Barruel (25th). It was when joining the Mitsubishi team that Magne really became part of the elite of rally-raid. In 1988, he finished 2nd in Dakar with driver Kenjiro Shinozuka. During his long partnership with the Japanese, he climbed on the final podium on five occasions (1988-92-95-97-98), winning the event in 1997. His transfert to Jean-Louis Schlesser’s team during the 1999 season was immediately a success as the French crew conquered victory in January 2000 beside the Gizeh pyramids of Egypt. Magne then helped out Carlos Sousa (2003) and Luc Alphand (2004) in the Dakar before moving back to Mitsubishi. Sixth in 2005, the Roma-Magne team finished third of the last Dakar."Nani" Roma, a winner of the 2004 edition of the rally on a bike is said to be "out of danger" according to the Morocco rally race organisers, contacted by press agency AFP.

01-06-2006 - www.dakar.com : a new look for the 2007 edition

As registration opens for the 2007 edition, the Dakar is renewing the presentation and content of its Internet site. A must visit for rally enthusiasts, www.dakar.com has also become the site of reference for curious fans of both sport and adventure. In 2005, the frequentation of the site reached a new level with 65 million pages viewed (39 million in 2003).
The new version of the Dakar site, that adresses both competitors and public alike, will provide visitors with practical, historical and technical information as well as photographs, standings and advices. Thanks to an optimized presentation, navigating the site will be made easier throughout the year as well as during the running of the rally, where the latest news will be available live.

19-05-2006 - Jutta Kleinschmidt joins the Team X-Raid BMW

First woman to conquer the Dakar in 2001 after first starting her rally-raid career on a bike, Jutta Kleinschmidt has signed a contract with Germany’s X-raid team supported by the BMW constructor. For quite a few weeks now, Volkswagen had indeed announced their intention to split up with the German driver after failing to negotiate a new contract. Kleinschmidt had started driving for VW back in 2002 managing her best result behind the steering-wheel of a Race Touareg in 2005 when she finished third of the Dakar.
In the X Raid team, Kleinschmidt will be starting the 2007 Dakar in a BMW X3CC. The team set up by Sven Quandt that started rally-raid events in 2000 has had drivers such as Luc Alphand compete on an older version of the BMW X3 and finish 4th in the Dakar in 2004 before heading off to Mitsubishi. For the 2006 edition of the Dakar, Qatar’s Nasser El Attiyah was forced to pull out of the race after suffering a crash during stage 10 while Guerlain Chicherit, 9th overall, superbly triumphed on the special between Tambacounda and Dakar.

19-05-2006 - An adventurous treble for Hedrich

Charles Hedrich, a competitor of the 2003 Dakar has just finished three incredible challenges started in Marseille and finished in Sharm-el-Sheikh. The goal he had decided to go for, "Objectif 3", consisted in becoming the first that finish a Dakar, to go around the world on a sailing boat and to climb Everest. Hedrich completed his challenge on Wednesday the 3rd of May when reaching the of the world.
In January 2003, the first part of his bet was accomplished when the Frenchman made it to Sharm El Sheick in 71st position on his Honda 400 XR. The following year, not allowed to officially compete in the Vendée Globe event because of a problem with his boat owner, he still covered the course of the sailing race beside the competing boats and made sure he respected the normal and traditional rules of the solo circumnavigation without ss or assistance. His trip from Lorient back to Lorient lasted 128 days.
After having achieved his original challenge by climbing up the highest mountain in the World (8808m), Charles Hedrich is now considering solo ocean records on huge mutlihull boats!

09-05-2006 - Euromilhoes Lisboa Dakar 2007: Ready for adventure

This after-noon, the organisers of the Dakar have unveiled the main lines of the 29th edition that will be held between the 6th and the 21st of January 2007. After the succes both on a sporting and media point of view of the start in Portugal last year, they have chosen to once again launch the rally in Lisbon before heading to Africa. The technical and administrative scrutineering will take place on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of January in the Cultural Center of Belem, with on the following day a real rally stage on Portuguese soil.
After crossing the Mediterranean sea, the caravan will head for Dakar after going through Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, and Senegal. The course, currently being prepared, will promise to be very sandy. The rally that has become a raid last year thanks to new sporting regulations favouring navigation will carry on in a way that has last year delighted the competitors and race fans.
Preventing risks remains a main concern for the organisers. Therefore new measures will be taken to improve the security of competitors and populations all along the course. Indeed, the existing measures will be reinforced and adapted to the specific characteristics of each stage.

02-05-2006 - Volkswagen split up with Jutta Kleinschmidt

Only woman to have won the Dakar back in 2001, Jutta Kleinschmidt who was driving for the Volkswagen team since 2002 has not renewed her contract with the German factory team. With no agreement being found, Kleinschmidt finds herself without a car for the moment. Of the Volkswagen team that had counted on five drivers for the 2006 edition, only two–time WRC champion Carlos Sainz and South Africa’s Giniel De Villiers, 2nd overall of the previous event will take part in the next Dakar in a Race Touareg.

27-04-2006 - Dakar Enduro Challenge FFM: 15 riders, 1 place

With the first leg of the French Championship, a parallel competition has started between the national elite enduro riders. Among the 15 bikers registered for the Dakar enduro challenge FFM, only one will finish the season with the insurance of being able to compete for free in the 2007 Dakar. The best of the enduro riders, that have the skills to perform well on rally-raid tracks, often struggle with financial difficulties to eventually make it. The Dakar enduro challenge therefore offers a unique opportunity.
During the opening championship weekend, on the 22nd and 23rd of April in Gyé-sur-Seine, a first ranking of the event was established. The provisional hierarchy promises quite some suspense with Fabien Planet and Sébastien Guillaume, each winners of a E2 class race, share first position. Behind, Damien Miquel and Nicolas Deparrois, who compete in the E1 class, have started a distant chase behind the two leaders. The next opportunity to close in on spot will be in Aigueperse (63) for the second leg of the French Championship on the 27th and 28th of May.
Provisional standing
1. Fabien Planet 45 pts
2. Sébastien Guillaume 45 pts
3. Damien Miquel 34 pts
4. Nicolas Deparrois 30 pts
5. Nicolas Paganon 26 pts
6. Jordan Curvalle 22 pts
7. Evrard Gutkin 18 pts
8. Olivier Rebufie 18 pts
9. Jean-Baptiste Nicon 16 pts
10. Chrishe Guillaume 12 pts
11. Laurent Pannetier 11 pts
12. Nicolas Brousson 10 pts
13. Olivier Samofal 9 pts
14. David Denegre 7 pts
15. Benoît Calomine 5 pts

26-04-2006 - Yvan Muller turned towards the Dakar

Known for his skills as a driver on ice, Yvan Muller is now considering new horizons and new surfaces. His priority could indeed be the Dakar. The best for ten years of the Andros ice trophy, Muller is currently competing in the WTCC (World touring car championship), having finished second of the first two races in Monza before grabbing his first success in Brands Hatch. But after his season on asphalt circuits, his ambition is to take on the sand dunes and dirt tracks of Africa, if possible during the 2007 edition of the Dakar while the Frenchman doesn’t yet have a clear project for his first experience in a rally-raid, he has however tested out a Volkwagen Race Touareg in Tunisia. Wait and see...

16-04-2006 - Injured Alphand quits the Tunisia rally

Winner of the 2006 Dakar, Luc Alphand was forced to pull out of the Tunisia rally after crashing during stage 5. The title holder and overall leader at the moment of the accident, Alphand committed a serious driving mistake that saw him suffer several tumbles and a right hand injury. While the former alpine skiing World Cup winner was forced to withdraw from the Tunisia rally and head back to France for further medical exams, his racing schedule shouldn’t however change with this minor injury. After having won the Dakar, Alphand went on to conquer the Patagonia-Atacama rally, first event of the rally-raid World Cup.

29-03-2006 - Dakar Enduro Challenge FFM: an opportunity to live the Dakar dream

Stéphane Peterhansel, Richard Sainct or Cyril Despres, among many others have competed and triumphed on enduro tracks before winning the Dakar. The symbolic link between eduro and rally-raids is reinforced with the creation of the Dakar Enduro Challenge, a contest organised by the FFM and the Dakar. The operation, opened to bikers of over 21 years of age competing in all rounds of the French enduro championship, will allow a rider to earn a place on the next Dakar. The opportunity to live a dream.
The importance of the French enduro championship that gathers over 300 bike fanatics in the mud and the ruts of every stage, promises intense and fascinating episodes in the Dakar Enduro Challenge. In this gathering of talented bikers, the most deserving, in other words the one who will have combined with the most success regularity and performance, will start the next Dakar with all the required assets. The door is wide open to all the candidates to this big adventure: free entry from the 29 of March to the 21st of April.
The five rounds of the French enduro championship:

April 22-23: Gyé sur Seine (10)
May 27-28: Aigueperse (63)
July 1-2: Nogent (52)
July 29-30: Vagney (88)
September 16-17: Noirétable (42)

15-03-2006 - Direction Dakar for Carole Montillet

A few weeks after the Torino Olympic Games, where she courageously defended her olympic downhill title despite a heavy fall during training, Carole Montillet participated in the final official competition of her career at the Super G in Aare, Sweden. The skier from Villard-de-Lans finished 18th, which brought an end to her career and is now thinking of a reconversion in which the Dakar will play an important role. With an interest in motor racing, Montillet is expected to enter the 2007 Dakar alongside former French National Ski Team team mate, Mélanie Suchet, who took part in the 2006 edition.
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