It's evident that it has not been a positive and successful Dakar for me. But we're talking about a unique race in the world, and only having been there is a great experience that I will never forget. And at the same time, the fact that I made it for the eighth time and I personally know most of the top pilots, I think it gives me, at the risk of being wrong, some opinion to comment on what has meant for them this 2011 edition:
MARC COMA: What a champion! Winning three Dakars intermittently (it means failing some edition), has great merit, as the pressure that these people hold, running to the limit in a so difficult field for so many hours and many days, it is a fact that very few people in the world could do. Marc is so good that all the experts and fans believe that if anyone has problems, he's unbeatable right now, and rivals can only aspire to victory when he suffers a mishap during the race. Surely one day he will race in cars, but I think he is still motivated to continue fighting for victory in the motorcycle category in the world's toughest motor event.
CARLOS SAINZ: Nobody has any doubt that he is one of the greatest rally and raid drivers in history. But I wonder if he still has the passion and motivation to continue fighting to win this tough event where, besides having the best car and the best team (which he already has), it requires a lot of favorable circumstances to win at the end. Although I appreciate him, I put a small question mark to his co-pilot Lucas Cruz. It's hard for me to understand how a co-pilot of his theoretically level, can make a lot of mistakes even opening track (by car, it means: behind the bikes), even being second.
NANI ROMA: He has abandoned, but it he is always my favorite. On one side I think it has a high level. On the other because he is my personal friend. And thirdly, because he is a champion who meets a lot of very special requirements both in sporting and human: Great intuition and driving ability, empathy and personality, humble beginnings, fighting spirit in all circumstances (at the race and at the offices), and faithful and consistent with his way of thinking and acting. He has an ambitious project for the future, and of course, I want him to succeed.
LAIA SANZ: A '10 'in all aspects. Getting this results in his first Dakar is very difficult. We have to recognize that she is very good, but also that Jordi Arcarons has done a great job. They have trained very well, they have done a great strategy, they have driven perfectly, and they have completed a great result both in the overall standings, as winning the female category. Laia has a great future in this type of races. The only problem I see is that if the first year she has won in women and has a high rank overall, so: what motivation she will have for future editions? A result among the Top 10 is very difficult for her. And winning every year among women is ok, but it may be quite the same if achieved. May be it will happen as in the Trial, who despite she is a great pilot, there's a point that she always wins and it seems to have no rival or that their titles do not have merit.
PEP VILA: Being sixth in the increasingly contested category of trucks is great news. Pep is doing very well and also has great merit what he has achieved. The problem also is the future, he really should have doubts about whether or not to go higher. The trucks each day are over (the first two or three several days have won even Nani Roma. Can you imagine?), And get a good result (in the top 5) requires a huge budget, and taking many risks: while trucks have few problems, once launched at full speed, any shock can be lethal to the crew.
FOJ XAVIER: He is the most experienced Spanish pilot in the Dakar (19 times). Like many people, I respect him a lot, and I really appreciate him personally, because I know him since he meet in the Rally of the Atlas (Morocco), in 1996. He finished 19th. overall, which is really fine. But it amazes me how one person can be so many years motivated to do the same: Same race, same class, same approach, same goals. It is obviously an expert, and this makes him dominate like few this event, but I am diametrically opposed to the approach of my projects. It's clear to me (which is not necessarily the best), that my passion for this is precisely to raise different challenges, with new objectives, and not always dominating 100% the situation, to test the self-management in times of uncertainty and in the obstacles that every adventure proposes me.
MY TEAM: Mc.Rae-ProDakar Team has been great on this Dakar. The car has not had any major problems and has proven to be a very good option for those who want to make an adventurous race with a great team and a tight budget. The mechanical group led by his Manager Chris Leyds has been at a great level. The result of three riders at the finish is good, but I think that it doesn't reflects the good work and good car they had. The four pilots of the team that we abandoned, has been in all cases for reasons of strategy, personal or accumulation of problems, always outside the team or the car. The four abandoned cars were perfect and have stopped running in perfect condition. My special congratulations for the group of riders that reached the end: for Tim Coronell, who has done a perfect race, and also for the argentinians Pato Silva and Emiliano, that have fighted as great Dakarians in his first try.