Isidre Esteve has become an inspiration for many people. His desire to succeed knows no limits, just like his positive outlook on life, which he faces with a very special sense of humour. Those who know him know that he is always smiling. His inseparable co-driver Txema Villalobos can vouch for that. They spend many hours together during the Dakar, in such a small space as the Repsol Rally Team's 4x4. Their friendship is such that they are not afraid to joke around, even in the most dire situations.
This is how they wanted things to come across in a fun video that shows images of “one of those… wonderful days!”. Isidre appears seated in his wheelchair on top of a dune looking out to the horizon, and says out loud: "The desert is amazing... Nothing can beat being here. Right,Txema?"
The driver from Oliana adds: When we turn at high speeds, when we make those jumps, when you think that we’re going to crash in a dune and we end up overcoming it without knowing how we did it...
It’s incredible, right, Txema?”.
His serious and mystical demeanour changes to show a more playful and happy side, to finish by saying “but in the end, anyone can have a rough day, right Txema?”.
At that moment, his co-driver and faithful squire Txema Villalobos, who until now had limited his responses to agreeing resignedly, says eloquently: “Yes, some more than others”, while he digs up the sand from under the Dakar car, stranded on the dune under the blazing sun.
With this fun gag, Isidre Esteve jokes about the fact that he can't exit the car to help his co-driver in a situation as commonplace as removing a car from the sand or changing a flat tyre. It’s one of the few moments in the rally-raid when the driver from Lérida is at a disadvantage compared to his rivals, because once he is behind the wheel, he feels just like everyone else, able to compete against anyone.
In particular, his biggest challenge is being able to be a part of the privileged group of drivers who aspire to win the Dakar, as he did when he was a motorcycle rider before the accident that caused his spinal cord injury. He knows he will only achieve this through sacrifice and perseverance. And nobody can beat him on that front... he can’t be beat in terms of vitality and sense of humour either.
That’s how Isidre Esteve is, and that’s how he faces the world’s most difficult race for the fifth time in a car. In Saudi Arabia, his goal is to improve on the 21st position he achieved in the two previous years. To do so, he believes he can climb up the ranking on the dunes, which is ironically where he feels most comfortable. Right, Txema?