Ari on… Dakar

Evo - - VAUXHALL ASTRA GTE -

‘Dakar to­day isn’t re­ally Dakar – it’s more like a reg­u­lar rally than it used to be back in the Africa days. But there are still plenty of un­made roads and it’s al­ways un­pre­dictable, so you need com­pletely dif­fer­ent sus­pen­sion to the WRC. That’s why Peu­geot built its car to buggy rules – you get big wheel travel, lots of ground clear­ance, enor­mous tyres. They’ve built a re­ally fast off-road car.

‘Fig­ur­ing out how much to push on the Dakar is like draw­ing a line in wa­ter. You’re al­ways afraid of what’s over the next brow, so it’s only in the evening you know whether your speed was any good. But that’s the beauty of Dakar. When I started, you only had an ap­prox­i­mate road book and a com­pass. Every­body got lost, maybe for half an hour, maybe an hour. But it was an eye-opener too – we were driv­ing through the poor­est coun­tries in the world.’

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