“When you send a message to the universe and the universe replies, you cannot deny it!”
A chance encounter in 2015 laid the foundations for Roman Starikovich's Dakar adventure. The Cyprus-based entrepreneur had been taking part in offroad and 4x4 expeditions since 2008 and had always dreamed of taking part in the world's most famous rally. One morning in April 2015, he received a call from none other than Nasser Al-Attiyah -now a three-time Dakar winner- who was visiting Cyprus for a shooting competition. The Qatari's advice led to Roman setting up the Autolife Team and acquiring a Desert Warrior from Rally Raid UK. In September of that year he trained in Morocco with Annie Seel, 'The Princess of Dakar', who introduced him to future co-driver Bert Heskes. Fifteen months later, Roman and Bert were on the start line of Dakar 2017, and became the first team from Cyprus to successfully complete the rally. Three years on, they are back in a Toyota Hilux Overdrive, dubbed 'The Mighty Bumblebeast', hoping to improve on their 50th place last time around. Born in the Soviet Union, Roman moved to Cyprus in 1994 and set up the Orpheus Group, which has interests in luxury tourism, development, real estate and even boasts its own film production company. A trip to La Paz ahead of Dakar 2017 also sparked an interest in mountaineering, with Roman later embarking on the Seven Summits project. He has already climbed Mount Elbrus, Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua, producing a short film called 'Climb and Clean' to promote green tourism and encourage climbers to tidy up after themselves. Scaling Mount Everest is among his future plans, along with taking part in more rallies and bajas such as the Silk Way. For now, though, the spirited 46-year-old is simply focusing on a successful second Dakar outing.
“One day, with my wife, we decided to share our dreams. She said she wanted to learn how to dance the rumba, and I said well, I would like to participate in a rally, probably the Dakar. I knew it was a bit difficult. But it you have a dream like that -a super dream!- you have to go ahead. I was a bit unsure, so I looked it up: the story of the Dakar, how you get started, past winners. The next day, at about 10am, I had a phone call and the person on the line said, 'Hello my friend, this is Nasser Al-Attiyah, I'm a Dakar winner, maybe I can help you out.' I thought it was a joke. It turned out that he was in Cyprus at the time for a shooting competition, and a mutual friend had told him about my dream. When you send a message to the universe and the universe replies, you cannot deny it! So my road to Dakar started when I met Nasser in April 2015. It was an amazing coincidence. We're so happy that Saudi Arabia is opening up now, in all aspects. I think it's a very promising destination for tourism in Cyprus, so it's great news for us. Logistically it's also closer. The Dakar is coming back to the desert so it's also an extra challenge. I'll be doing a short competition in Dubai in December to be ready, to be more prepared. Of course, every competitor wants to improve their results. We have an ambitious team. But like any rally, the Dakar isn't just a competition for drivers, it's also about the co-drivers and mechanics. All of us have a mission to improve our results. It would be great to come between 30th and 35th, that's my aim."
- Mark : TOYOTA
- Model : HILUX OVERDRIVE
- Performance tuner : Autolife
- Assistance : Autolife
- Class : T1.1 petrol modified A-T 4x4
All news of R. Starikovich
Starikovich crashes and is evacuated
Roman Starikovich did not even manage to complete 1 km of the special before crashing. Suffering from a back injury, as is his co-pilot Bert Heskes, the crew of Toyota No. 360 have been evacuated from the stage by the medical team.
More problems for Starikovich
Roman Starikovich already had to drop out of racing during stage 5 due to a mechanical problem. After resuming the race in the Dakar Experience formula, the Cypriot driver is again in difficulty after 134 km of the special and looks like having several hours of repairs ahead of him.
Wheel problems for Starikovich
Roman Starikovich, 67th in the general standings in Al Ula this morning, is among the crews who are merely attempting to reach the finish of the day’s special without any problems. However, this will not be the case for the Cypriot today, because he has spent a long time trying to repair one of the front wheels on his Toyota...
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