After the European session that was held in Paris during October, the competitors’ seminars have continued, this time for the South American riders and drivers who flocked to Buenos Aires to receive hints and tips from David Castera and Nani Roma.
You can never be too prepared for the Dakar. Whether novices or experienced regulars on the event, all the riders and drivers are aware of this and do their utmost to arrive at the start with the best cards in their hands. On the mechanical side, much work is accomplished in the workshops, whilst swimming pools and fitness centres have increasingly become regular points of call for competitors. Beyond the technical and physical aspects, organising the Dakar also involves a more theoretical seminar, whose content is precious and even essential for the newcomers. This year, the meeting point was fixed at Buenos Aires, for a day of talks given by David Castera, the race’s sporting director, and Nani Roma, a winner in the bike category in 2004 and now a pretender for the crown in the car race. The two specialists were able to give the fifty-something riders or drivers who were present a whole host of useful information, concerning navigation instruments, sections of the rules that may be decisive, or even day-to-day life on the bivouac.
For the Catalan X-Raid team driver, “This type of meeting is an opportunity for all the riders and drivers, especially the least experienced. It makes it possible to reduce the number of mistakes that you can make once you’re in the field”. David Castera also believes that they are, “Interesting and constructive days during which the organisers make available a certain number of tools to the competitors, so that they can enjoy a good rally. Knowing how to interpret and read a road-book, correctly use the Iritrack and Sentinel systems, being familiar with several simple everyday principles are vital in having a successful Dakar”.
Although they have passed this stage of apprenticeship, several favourites or challengers for the leading roles made the journey to the Argentine capital to immerse themselves in the ambience of the rally, such as Marcos Patronelli, Lucas Bonetto or Lucio Alvarez, because, even for them, preparation involves a necessary detour via Buenos Aires.