N°259 Car MVsport


(ltu) 1.68m / 70kg


Desert racing & looking after 5 kids

2023: 114th
2022: 41st
2021: 36th
2020: 41st
2007: Ab.
2003: 55th
2002: 51st

2023: Rallye du Maroc (17th)
2022: Tunisia Desert Challenge (5th)
2014-2019: Africa Eco Race, Rallye Tunis, Toureg Rally


“Each year is a different Dakar”

It was back in 2002 that Gintas Petrus first took part in the Dakar, bringing a rudimentary Toyota Land Cruiser to the finish line in 51st place. The 58-year-old entrepreneur has long been a fan of desert racing, and his early appearances in the African Dakars inspired other drivers from Lithuania, where the Dakar has become hugely popular. Gintas did the rally again in 2003 and 2007, but then took a long hiatus when it moved out to South America, focusing on raising his family. His five children certainly keep him occupied, but the thrill-seeking entrepreneur decided to return when the Dakar came to Saudi Arabia in 2020. For his comeback he lined up in a Toyota Hilux, finishing 41st, and since 2021 he has been competing in a two-wheel drive Optimus Buggy. He is perfectly happy with the car's performance, even if he acknowledges that it doesn't have the firepower to match the top T1+ crews. At any rate, the most important thing for Gintas and co-driver José Marques is to enjoy their Dakar adventure -although they wouldn’t say no to a top-30 finish. The Lithuanian jokes that he’d be happy to keep doing the Dakar “until age 80”, pointing out that French veteran Jean-Pierre Strugo is still going strong at 77. Gintas and José warmed up for the rally with a decent outing at the Rallye du Maroc (17th), where they actually finished ahead of big guns Stephane Peterhansel and Nasser Al Attiyah. They’re looking forward to some fresh challenges at Dakar 2024, especially the 48-hour chrono stage, but would be happier to see a bit more sunshine and a bit less rain between Alula and Yanbu!

G.P.: “In a way, each year is a different Dakar because of the route and the troubles you face, all the technical issues and navigation issues and so on. But yeah, Dakar is Dakar, so we are preparing and doing our homework, as best we can in a small team. I'm looking forward to the new format, with the 48-hour chrono stage. For smaller teams, those kind of marathon stages even up the field with the bigger teams. So that's interesting to see, it's exciting to have new challenges. The navigation wasn’t actually that difficult last year. There were quite a lot of waypoints, and if you followed them it wasn’t so easy to get lost. Maybe José did such a good job that we never had a chance to lose our way! He’s been practising in the Portuguese championship. He’s very enthusiastic and really likes his job, so he’s a good partner to have around. The organisers tested out some tricky stuff in Morocco, so maybe at this Dakar we’ll have a chance to demonstrate more navigation skills. I saw that Jean-Pierre Strugo is on the list again this year, I’m happy to see him. He’s a bit older than me, and it gives me the perspective that I can do many more Dakars! I just have to be fit and eat well, keep exercising, so I’m not too fat to get into the car!”

J.M.: “I started as a co-driver in a Baja on the Portuguese championship, and since then I’ve always been a co-driver in Bajas and a navigator in rally-raid. I’ve had the passion for motorsport since I was one year old, because I grew up in a city with a racing circuit and a long tradition in motorsport. After some years, I started doing expeditions in the Sahara Desert and then started racing as a co-driver in cross-country rallies. Of course, when you reach the end of every rally, it is a moment of strong emotions. But the victory in the truck category at the Africa Eco Race 2019 is the highlight of them all. The first time I arrived at the Lac Rose was a special moment and brings me very good memories. Although I had participated in the previous nine editions of the Africa Eco Race, it was nice to return to the car category at Dakar 2021, and race in a completely new desert and landscape. The collaboration with Gintas has been great and we’ve got along quite well throughout the two rallies. In the 2023 edition, despite all the difficulties we faced, each day we would arrive at the bivouac and say to each other, ‘Happy days’. At Dakar 2024 we’re hoping to finish, first of all, and then to achieve a good classification. I would also like to avoid any big issues during the Dakar, because small issues are inevitable!”




  • MD
  • Petrus Racing
  • Petrus Racing
  • T1.2 Prototype Cross-Country Cars 4x2

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