Dakar, Rest Day : Romain Dumas continues his adventure
At the halfway point, and as competitors in the Dakar have made their return to Argentina for the traditional rest day, Romain Dumas is currently shown in the top 20 of the event. At the wheel of the Peugeot 2008 DKR15+ in Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque colors, the Alès, France native continues on schedule, proving his consistency and a certain amount of good judgment to save the equipment. Romain and his co-driver François Borsotto head into the second week of the event with no change in objective : get to the finish and continue to progress up the leaderboard.
From discovery to confidence…
The terrain is very different from what he’s used to on circuits, but Romain Dumas had taken on the challenge of his second participation in the Dakar like the endurance race he is the rest of the year : avoid trouble, keep the car intact and reach the finish line. Firstly, Romain needed to discover his new machine, the Peugeot 2008 DKR15+, which he had only two previous opportunities to drive during testing, once in France and the other in Argentina. This was his mission in the Prologue, and in the second stage (the first stage was cancelled due to weather). Running 29th after getting stuck in a quagmire, Romain upped the tone while gaining confidence stage by stage, always finishing in the top 25 : 22nd in stage 3, 24th and 23rd in the marathon double stage (a few mechanical woes in the first part were followed by helping a stranded Cyril Despres in the second part), and 21st in the longest stage of the 2016 edition. The return to Argentina was a positive one, with an 18th place finish on the stage allowing for a 20th place ranking overall, 2h30 behind the leader, Sébastien Loeb.
« This first half of the Dakar has been good so far, generally. » admits Romain Dumas after reaching the rest day. « We’d like to be a little higher in the standings, but we wanted to avoid issues and save the equipment for the second week. We tried to maintain a small margin of caution, especially in the marathon stage. We also had to learn the handling of the Peugeot 2008 DKR15+. Logically, it’s been different from my first participation, but for now the car is running well. The car is more comfortable than last year’s so that has allowed us to gain in confidence as we go. Outside of that famous quagmire that got a lot of competitors stuck, and a few small alarms, we’ve had no problems. We also pulled Cyril Despres at the end of the sixth stage, where we lost a few minutes, but we really wanted to help. François Borsotto has been perfect in the navigation department. »
The 2016 Dakar, another level…
With six stages left to run, top 20 ranked Romain Dumas is not changing his approach, with the goal being clear : finish the Dakar, having been forced to retire last year as the finish was in sight. « We aren’t going to change our philosophy because we’re in the top 20 or because our latest stage was positive in terms of time » he underlines. « We hope to continue in this fashion while following our plan. Of course, if we can reach the top 15, we’ll be happy. But you have to remember that the level of competition is higher than in 2015. It’s a packed grid of competitors and we’re seeing certain guys who are usually in the top 5 running further back in the order, with some able to win stages and others not. It’s my second participation and the first for my privateer team…let’s not get carried away. We also have to recognize Peugeot Sport and the work they’ve done to their new car, whose stage times are impressive. Like we were there for Cyril, if they need help, we’ll be there during the second part of the Dakar. »
#PetitCœur (Little Heart) alongside Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque and Romain Dumas
Through Romain Dumas’s project with Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque and the Matmut contest, eight children suffering from cardiac malfunctions will be saved. This is the case of Orléane and Franck, two young Ivory Coast children suffering from Fallot’s tetralogy, an inborn heart defect. Orléane will undergo her operation at the Children’s Hospital in Toulouse, while Franck will be cared for at the Hautepierre Hospital in Strasbourg. »
« We are thinking a lot of the children during the rally and we’re proud to be racing for the Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque cause » adds Romain. « Our mascot #PetitCoeur (Little Heart) is always with us. That teddy bear is like our travel companion, and he’s seen a lot of miles and great countryside views, as well as some fun moments. It’s a way to carry these children with us on our adventure. For now, it’s going well, and we hope it will continue. »
About Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque.
Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque, Enfants du Monde provides for children suffering from cardiac malformations and originating from underdevelopped areas of the world to be operated on in France when it is technically or financially not possible to do so in their own countries.
Hosted by volunteer families and with operations carried out in nine French cities (Angers, Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Paris, Strasbourg, Toulouse and Tours), more than 2,500 children have already been helped since the Association’s creation in 1996 by Francine Leca and Patrice Roynette.