Isidre Esteve has had a promising start to the season, getting his best ever result at the Baja Aragón in a car. The Repsol Rally Team driver crossed the finish line third in the T1.2 category and 16th overall in this race that counts towards the Cross Country World Championship. A brilliant way to try out the technical innovations of his BV6 prototype from Sodicars Racing for the upcoming Dakar.
For the Oliana-born driver, it is a qualitative leap that was unthinkable just seven years ago, when he reappeared with a lightweight buggy to test the Smart Cushion and to see if he could keep competing without putting his health at risk. After a long process, now he only has to worry about driving and competing, as he demonstrated this weekend in Teruel with his co-driver Txema Villalobos.
"We’re very pleased with our first race of the year. It's been a very complicated Baja with weather and pace changes, and very beautiful special stages. It’s a good way to start the season because we got a very positive result in a tough race and, above all, because we’re getting closer and closer to the elite", summed up the driver from Lérida after completing the demanding 500 kilometres of this edition.
In the third stage, held this Sunday between Barrachina and Alfambra, Isidre worked hard to overcome a special stage of 127 kilometres that was affected by a strong storm that hit during the early morning. The first part was the trickiest because of the mud, but the driver from Oliana expertly overcame the challenge at the controls of his adapted steering wheel. He finished this difficult day third in his group and 20th overall, with a time of 1 hour, 55 minutes and 44 seconds.
The new technical developments in his vehicle and his extensive experience mean he is optimistic about the next Dakar, where he trusts he will recreate in a car the success he had on a bike before his spinal cord injury, "We’re going in the right direction to reach the elite; this is our aim. It’s important for all the team to have this confidence without forgetting that our goal is to be as prepared as possible for the Dakar, to try and be at the top of the ranking", he concludes.
"We have a great team behind us that understands and applies what we need, and the changes are noticeable on the track. We are feeling positive and we’re convinced that this year the BV6 prototype is more competitive. We’ve improved the brakes, suspensions, and safety. We wanted to check that everything is under control and to our liking. We’re happy with the work because we’ve achieved what we wanted", says the Repsol Rally Team driver.
The next big event for Isidre Esteve will be the Morocco Rally from 3th to 9th October. Along with the test that will take place a few days before in the same country, the Moroccan race will be crucial to prepare for the Dakar Rally 2019, which will be held in Peru.