Paulo, at the rest day, what can you say about your participation in the Dakar and your team, X-RAID?
It has been very positive so far. X-RAID has three of the MINIs in the top 3, which is amazing. Our performance couldn’t be better after all, we only have Nani Roma ahead of us and we can’t compare the years of experience.
We have read a lot of comments about the hardness of this Dakar edition, maybe the hardest one since it moved to South America. Do you agree?
Yes, I agree. It has been a really hard race with very long connections. We don’t have much time to sleep and have a little rest. It is also very hot, with temperatures up to 45 degrees.
Until now, which was the most complicated stage?
The fifth stage was very difficult. Navigation was hard and the stage was very long. It was really hard.
And the one you enjoyed the most?
Stage 6, without any doubt. It was a WRC style stage with a lot of people to support us, which means a lot to me and Orly.
Have you and Orly been able to avoid getting stuck in the sand?
So far, so good. The only thing that made me leave the car was flat tyres.
Impeccable navigation seems to be the key for your success. Has it been hard to find the right track and check all waypoints?
Navigation has been the key factor but it hasn’t been easy. We need to be as focused as possible. It takes me 3 to 4 hours daily to prepare the road book for every stage, so I don’t sleep that much. Until now, all MINIs have endured well the roughness of this Dakar.
This second part after the rest day is, in theory, buggy friendly. Will the MINIs keep up to this challenge?
Of course! MINIs are excellent machines, very well prepared by the X-RAID team and we have the best drivers.
Your teammates are putting a lot of pressure on your MINI’s back. What will be your tactics?
We will try to drive as fast as we can without making any mistake, because we can’t afford to lose time. Besides, we will try to start all of the stages in the top 5.
Good luck. Hope to see you at the podium.
Best regards from Salta and thank you all for your support.