Dakar 2016 – Race for the Heart
Mission accomplished for Romain Dumas in top 20 finish
After ending the first week of competition in the top 20, Romain Dumas reached the Dakar finish in his Peugeot 2008 DKR15+ entered by his own team, the RD Rallye Team. Alongside his co-driver François Borsotto, the Alès, France native took on the many obstacles in a second week that presented itself to be more difficult for competitors in general. It’s mission accomplished for Romain who finishes the event for the first time, on his second attempt, with a 20th place final ranking (fifth among French drivers). It’s a result that also gives eight children suffering from cardiac malformations the chance to be saved by Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque with the Matmut contest.
It was difficult to do better…
The first half of the 2016 Dakar was positive and consistent for Romain Dumas and François Borsotto, always running among the top 25 after a difficult stage 2 that saw the pair get stuck in a quagmire. Ranked 20th on the rest day, Romain maintained the momentum until the end. As the rally continued, between Salta and Belen, the Frenchman ran in 19th before taking the 14th quickest time on the ninth stage, giving the pair an 18th place overall !
But the 10th stage would prove to be much more difficult, with a navigational error followed by issues with beaching in the sand following the Trucks tracks. At the wheel of the No. 328 Peugeot 2008 DKR15+ the duo were able to reach the stage finish and began Thursday’s stage with a mission to regain the top 20. With the 18th quickest time in the penultimate stage, Romain maintained position to finish the Dakar and reach the first objective : reach the checkered flag for the first time in his career. He leaves Argentina with a 20th place finish, fifth among French drivers, 8h12 behind winner Stéphane Peterhansel.
"Mission accomplished. That’s really the feeling I have at the end of this Dakar. "» underlines Romain Dumas. "Honestly, keeping in mind our preparation and how little we knew the car, it was difficult to do better…You have to keep in mind that we did less than 100km of testing before the start ! I would have prefered to reach the top 15 but you have to realistic. The competition level was much higher this year with the Peugeots taking a huge leap forward, and several Minis and Toyotas present. There were few private teams like us and even fewer ahead of us. I’m very proud of my RD Rallye Team members who did an incredible job since our arrival in Argentina.
Apart from a few small alarms, like everyone, the car performed without issues. We suffered less with a car that was more comfortable than last year’s. Of course there were a few moments, especially in the sand between Belen and La Rioja, but overall we did well together with François Borsotto. We were consistent and that was the key. At times I had to calm down and stay patient, but that was the right approach. What I will retain, is that the team showed its ability to take on such a big challenge. Rallies, hillclimbs, cross-country rallies, we can go everywhere now ! "
Eight children saved thanks to Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque and Matmut
In addition to the sporting mission, it was a race for the heart that Romain Dumas and the RD Rallye Team took on during this Dakar. Here again, it was mission accomplished. With the Matmut contest, eight children suffering from cardiac malformations will be operated on in the coming weeks thanks to Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque : Orléane, Franck, Abdoulaye, Albert, Christ, Rodrigue, Imane and Marilise.
"It was an honor and a huge responsibility to fly the Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque colors in Argentine and Bolivie. I said it before the start and I’m reiterating it at the finish. This race for the heart was very important in my eyes and I’m thrilled to see that eight children will be helped" adds Romain.
"Our mascot #PetitCoeur (little heart) went with us everywhere. I’m not sure any other stuffed teddy bear has done as many kilometers as our mascot ! We hope we were able to bring awareness to this cause and all of the good things done by Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque. We received a huge amount of support during these two weeks and I want to thank everyone who contributed to the project to make it a success. Last year I was disappointed to not reach the finish line. That’s in the past now and it was important for me personally, to these children and all those who are involved, to finish this race."
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