Romain Dumas with convincing eighth place finish in the 2017 Dakar
Romain Dumas continues his progression in the Dakar. Following on from his debut in 2015, his first top 20 finish in 2016, the Alès native ended the 2017 edition with an impressive eighth place finish. It’s a first top 10 in the event for Romain, who was driving a Peugeot 3008 DKR entered under his own team, RD Limited. This also makes him the first driver/owner in the final standings as well as the best finishing privateer team. Through consistency, Romain Dumas and his co-driver Alain Guehennec had a better performance than planned, which was to be around the top 10 finishers.
« I know where I need to make progress… »
Romain Dumas’s first week on the 2017 Dakar was a positive one : classified 10th overall by the rest day and boasting a fifth place finish on the fifth stage. The second week was much more difficult with more navigation and more dunes. The marathon stages were marked by contrast for Romain. Stuck in camel grass, he lost several minutes before getting back to business. The following day, he got lodged in a sand dune when his rhythm was as good as the top competitors. Then he tackled stage 10 and all of its navigational challenges, ending the day with a 13th place finish. The next day would be much the same, with the same finishing position, despite good pace, while the last stage was simply a formality to the event finish.
Although Romain continues to make progress in navigation and handling the tricky sand stages, he was able to gain a lot of ground in the overall standings over the course of the two week event, avoiding major problems, conserving the car, and benefitting from a perfectly reliable car in the 3008 DKR.
« The second part of the Dakar leaves me with a strange feeling » admits Romain Dumas. « On one hand, I’m a bit disappointed because I wanted to have an even better showing and I know we have the potential to run even higher in the order on certain stages. We never had a perfect day – there was always a small navigational error or we got stuck in the sand. That’s too bad. On the other hand, we made no major mistakes and that allowed us to climb the running order. We kept focus on the objective, we didn’t burn up the stages and this restraint paid off. I know where I need to make progress. Nothing can replace the experience of participating in a cross-country rally, and especially under race conditions. I need to train to do better.. »
« Better than what we could have hoped for»
With an eighth place overall finish, ten minutes from seventh place, Romain Dumas’s showing was a strong one. And it’s with this satisfaction that he now turns his attention to the rest of the season.
« We wanted to finish in the top 15, then we were talking top 10. We ended up in eighth place, which is better than what we could have hoped for.» he explained. « I played my role in quick assistance, I’ve progressed since last year and the team showed all of its strengths. That’s what I’ll remember, that RD Limited is now able to enter a car like the 3008 DKR and finished first among teams that I consider totally privateer. The guys did an incredible job. We also had the good fortune of having an excellent car, both quick and reliable. I had more fun than in my two previous participations and, naturally, that gives me ideas and desires. Now, we look ahead… »
Ahead, is the Rallye Monte-Carlo, in which reconnaissance starts this Monday. RD Limited will enter a Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4,0l in the FIA R-GT class. Romain Dumas will be joined by co-driver Gilles de Turckheim. « It’s awesome to do the Dakar and Monte-Carlo back to back with my own team. To do this with only a few days in between, I think, is pretty rare and this shows how strong the team is, which is the ability to run in any type of event. From the sands of South America to the snow of Monte Carlo, that’s one hell of a challenge. » concludes Romain.