Paris (AFP) – Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel, 13 times winner of the Dakar, the hardest endurance rally in the world, notes that the lockout confinement in France is not entirely negative.
According to strict confinement rules, the driver, accustomed to the great outdoors of the Dakar rally, is limited to exercise and training purposes within one kilometer of his home in southern Corsica.
“I was a little lazy at the start of the lockout,” said the 54-year-old rally statesman behind the wheel of the Dakar crossing the Arabian desert.
“Tinkering with old endurance bikes and doing things that I don’t have time to do normally.
“Then, after a few days, I started to run a little.
“We live near Porto-Vecchio, on the edge of the maquis, so within a kilometer, you can run on small isolated paths and do some circuits. “
Forced rest from competition gives Peterhansel something he rarely likes – the opportunity to unwind.
“I have participated as a professional driver since I was 18 and the seasons follow one another with the most important race, the Dakar, in January,” he said.
“So the only clean cut that happens is when I am injured.
“Now it’s a bit like that. I can take this time to recharge my batteries, because over the years, everything accumulates and it is heavy. So it’s really not that bad. “
He says he has no idea when the race will resume when the world is grappling with the coronavirus pandemic.
But he says drivers will need to be prepared and warns them to work hard.
“You have to go to training, work twice as hard, because each competitor is in his corner and you don’t really know what he is doing,” he said.
“You don’t know if everyone is waiting or if some manage to train a little better than others. “
He says he hopes to be back at the wheel in July for the Silk Way Rally in Russia, but says everything is uncertain at this point.
“We are in the dark and there is no program,” he said.