Dakar 2016: Prepare to board
With six weeks remaining before the start of the 2016 Dakar, the European vehicles that will participate are ready for a first 21 day voyage to cross the Atlantic from the French port city of Le Havre…
We are a very long way from the publication of the first classifications, but it is indeed a relief and a minor victory for all the European competitors who have come to drop off their vehicles for the embarking operations. On route towards Normandy, a few among the group experienced their first mechanical problem, or even struggled at the end of the trip to find the port docks. But in the end, everyone was more or less on time to board the Grande Sao Paulo, the cargo ship whose lower decks will be filled with the vehicles in just a few short days before casting off towards Argentina. The keys of the 265 race vehicles have been confided to the organization team, which is also in charge of shipping 272 assistance, 54 media and 40 organization vehicles to South America. In all, a vast parking lot 2.5 times larger than a football pitch reserved for 631 bikes, quads, cars and trucks, measuring 3,700 linear metres!
But it isn’t just about playing fancy car park that a 140 people went to work in Normandy. In the large number 122 hangar, the competitors retrieved and installed the safety equipment (GOS, Iritrack, distress beacon, etc…), while students from the Lavoisier Lycée, came to lend a helping hand and take care of the race numbers and other stickers. The customs formalities could also be handled at Le Havre, as well as a majority of the technical and administrative verifications that will conclude in six weeks’ time in Buenos Aires. “The rally stewards have already gone to meet with certain preparers and continue their work here”, explains Xavier Gavory, competitor relations manager. “For example, this allows us to take care of certain problems that could be more difficult to rectify quickly if they are discovered in Buenos Aires. And all of this reduces the particularly heavy program we have in the three days before the rally.”