Isidre Esteve is already on his way to Lima for the 41st Dakar Rally, which will begin on 6th January. The Repsol Rally Team driver will take part in a car for the fourth time since suffering a back injury, and is in better shape than ever. “We want to compete, have fun, and see our hard work throughout the season reflected in the final results”, said the driver from Lérida.
Isidre Esteve is flying to Peru from Barcelona with a connection in Madrid. His suitcase is full of hopes and aspirations, and he can be safe in the knowledge that he is well prepared for the most important date in the rally calendar. “We can't wait to touch down in Lima and are really looking forward to the Dakar. The last few days since we shipped the car have been really intense, and we have worked very hard to ensure we are in the best shape possible for the race, he explained at Barcelona airport.
The long wait is almost over and Isidre Esteve is hoping to reap the rewards of his meticulous preparation throughout the year. He already has many miles under his belt from the Baja Aragón, the Rallye du Maroc, and several preliminary tests. “Our end goal is to improve on last year's result. To do so, we've worked really hard over the last few months and have made many changes to the car, but it's by no means an easy feat because we have some very good rivals”, he confessed.
Alongside his co-driver Txema Villalobos, Isidre Esteve knows the Dakar 2019 route like the palm of his hand. This year, the race will take place entirely in Peru, covering a total of 5000 kilometres, almost 3000 of which are timed and 70% over sand. The Repsol Rally Team driver predicts that this year's race “will be different, but demanding enough to be enjoyable with 10 intense stages, more than last year. The marathon stage before the rest day is new for us and I'm sure it will be difficult. We are well prepared for this moment”.
The driver from Oliana thinks that it is fundamental to keep calm during the first days of the race and to stick to the initial strategy: “At the beginning it won't be an easy Dakar and we must be patient, because everyone will want to go really fast. We have to keep calm but stay focused on our aim of getting back into Lima on the 17th with a good position in the ranking”.