David Castera: "We have found the sweet spot"

Dakar 2023 | Stage 14 | AL-HOFUF > DAMMAM
January 15 th 2023 - 12:44 [GMT + 3]

David Castera, who oversaw the route in Saudi Arabia for the fourth year in a row, is happy to have struck the right balance in the 45th edition.

"It may have taken us a long time, but we have found the sweet spot in the fourth edition here. We tackled new tracks and ventured into uncharted territory, and today I am happy to have a truly balanced race in terms of difficulty. The Dakar is —and must remain— a tough event. We got there bit by bit, kicking it up a notch year after year, but we have struck the right balance, which is important because it gave us a gripping race, especially in the motorbike race, with a podium decided on the last day like never before. I'm a pretty satisfied organiser this evening. The number of race days is not what matters most, it is what you do with them that counts. We will see what we will serve up again in the future. We have to keep the Empty Quarter with a few tweaks here and there. We have to keep the ingredients that we used this year. With amateurs and professionals, it is really hard to go much further on the dunes and raise the bar even more, because it is all too easy to stop the race. This is why I was careful again. A couple of impossible dunes or a field of extremely soft sand can eliminate 40 to 50% of the field in no time, which is why I think we cannot go much further. We may need to mix it up a bit to better dilute it in the difficulties of the entire rally. Saudi Arabia is a real partner without which the Dakar would not be what it is today. Leaving for the sake of leaving makes no sense. If we leave a country, it has to be for something just as good, and nowadays we have got everything we need in Saudi Arabia. When we leave, we will do something big, but we will put a lot of time and thought into it."

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