Romain Dumas headed to the Dakar for the third time !
Following an exceptional year, highlighted by a Le Mans 24 Hours win and the FIA World Endurance Championship title with Porsche, as well as victory in the 100th anniversary edition of the Pikes Peak hillclimb, Romain Dumas will once again take part in the Dakar (January 2-14). This will be the third consecutive participation in the legendary cross-country rally for the Alès-born driver. Having finished 20th in the 2016 edition, he will be looking to continue his progress in the discipline. Accompanied by a new co-driver, the experienced Alain Guehennec, Romain will be driving a formidable machine, the Peugeot 3008 DKR, which will be entered by his team, RD Rallye Team.
« Continue to climb the ladder… »
After finishing his season with a participation in the Rallye du Var (November 27-30) and RallyCircuit (December 9-11) with a Porsche 911 GT3 RS developed RD Limited, Romain Dumas will head back to the Dakar and the South American landscape. Following his debut in 2015 and a disappointing retirement after a mechanical issue, the French driver finished 20th in 2016 driving a Peugeot 2008 DKR15+. His objective will be to finish better than in 2016.
« My goal is simple, to continue to climb the ladder » he explains. « In 2015, I was discovering everything about the rally. And I learned a lot. In 2016, I had a better chance, and I was able to finish the Dakar for the first time and to get into the « game » of the race. I again learned a lot. In 2017, I know I still need to progess, but I obviously want to climb in the classification charts as well. It’s an endurance race, so my philosophy doesn’t change : you have to finish and commit no errors, or at least avoid as many problems as possible. I think a top 15 finish is realistic but I’m not obsessed by this finishing position. I simply want to continue to take it step by step and climb in the running order. »
Although 2016 was Romain Dumas’ second participation in the Dakar, it was his team’s debut performance in cross-country rallying. For 2017, his team based at the Pôle Mécanique d’Alès-Cévennes will once again be heading up the mission, but with a new car, a Peugeot 3008 DKR, with a reworked suspension system, improved cooling and less weight, as well as optimized vehicle handling and better low-end engine performance. Romain will also be joined by a new co-driver, Alain Guehennec, who has 26 participations in the Dakar, with stage victories and class wins, as wells as major successes in the Rally Pharaons (2000) and winner of the World Cup of all-terrain rallies (2004).
« I know I have a better car than in 2016, and that’s of course something that motivates me » continues Romain Dumas. « There was a big step between 2015 and 2016 and this year it’s even more. It’s a great opportunity. It’s also a vote of confidence from Peugeot Sport, who trust the RD Rallye Team to do a serious job and that’s now recognized. As for me, I was able to do some testing in Morocco and take advantage of the official drivers, who were also in attendance. Alain Guéhennec is also joining me and will provide a huge amount of experience, particularly in navigation. I’m well aware of the cards I’m holding and I’m planning on using them as best as I can. I head into this Dakar with a new attitude and a lot of motivation. I’m also staying cautious because the Dakar is like Le Mans : there’s always uncertainty, a little something we can’t totally control. Some times the race chooses its winners and losers. As usual I will start the rally with the willingness to give it my all and to bring my qualities and experience even though I come from a different racing universe. »
After carrying red and white for his first two Dakar participations, this time Romain Dumas will be racing in blue and white sharing a livery with a new partner, R-Flow, as well as longtime sponsors, such as Croisi Europe, Spark and Yacco. « People may not remember, but I carried blue, my favorite color, and white for a long time. It’s nice to return to these colors for this occasion, even though that’s obviously not what makes the difference in the race » he smiled.
Following scrutineering from Dec. 30-January 1, the start of the Dakar will be on January 2. For its fifth running on the South American continent, the event will visit Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina in 2017.