“Give all you have, all the time”
After a brilliant rookie year that saw him win the Morocco Rally and capture a fine 8th position at the end of his very first Dakar, Bernhard Ten Brinke was sadly forced to withdraw from last years edition due to a family loss. For his return to the Dakar, the Dutchman and his French partner Matthieu Baumel, who will make his seventh Dakar appearance after competing with Chicherit and Sousa, remain extremely ambitious although Bernhard knows he'll need much more experience to one day fight it out with the legends of off-road rallying. In a brand new and rethought HRX Ford, Ten Brinke aims at the top 5.
B.T.B.: “The 2012 Dakar was a massive and fantastic experience. Everything was new to me: navigation, the car and the stages. It was a new world that I just love. The Dakar has become a part of my life. I must admit that I was surprised how difficult the rally is. It is long, we sleep very little, and you have to give it all you have, all the time. We tested the car a lot this year working on its reliability and several small details. I saw in Morocco that we were as fast as the Minis. Top 5 is therefore our goal. We'll need a little luck but we have good chances. As a young driver I'll simply do my best and try to start the race well. People expect me to do a lot better but I don't have the experience of the others. I've known Mathieu Baumel for three years now and we make a good couple. The harder the stages are the better I go. My weakness is probably on the easier paths. That's where I really need to focus and be alert.”
M.B.: “I have a really nice souvenir of the 2012 Dakar. Despite not beating my personal best result, it was my best Dakar in terms of making the right decisions. I got on very well with Bernhard. He said that I am the boss? Yes and no. If you want to make it to the finish, you have to know how to manage situations and that is my job. It is up to me to push or slow down the driver. The new car works well. It is solid and keeping the same structure as the Lancer, the difficult part was integrating the new Mustang V8 engine. We had to review everything. A lot of evolutions have been made and it is more completive. Clearly we are aiming for a strong result. We don't necessarily have enough to go for the win but if we can finish in the Top 5 that would be very good. Luck can play a big role.”