Aldo group, Overseas Transport System, Vitesse Transport, ES Walter Shoe Care, Multi Art Marketing
What a journey it’s been for David Bensadoun. When first seeing the Dakar competitors go by his relatives’ house in France, during his Christmas Holidays, he knew he would one day be part of the adventure. Thirty years later, in a car alongside compatriot Patrick Beaulé, he was part of the first ever Canadian crew to finish the event. After three other appearances, including a great 32nd position in 2015, the successful businessman in the shoe industry, returns with even bigger ambitions. This time, David will be in a car suited to his rather big former rugbyman’s body: a Century CR6 designed by South African Mark Corbett who finished 16th of the 2016 Dakar. At his side, the Canadian will again match up with his compatriot Patrick Beaulé who lived his dream of doing the Dakar on a bike back in 2013 (62nd overall). David who had another taste of the Peruvian dunes during the Desafio Inca, hopes to make it to the Top 20 but primarily wants to have fun. Once again, the Canadian will use the Dakar to raise money for the Two-Ten Cancer Fund - a charity that supports people in the footwear industry who are suffering from Cancer ($100 000 have already ben collected).
D.B.: “Every single day, I think about my first experience on the Dakar. Everything was amazing: the landscapes, the atmosphere, the people. The day the rally ended, I knew I was going to come back. I find normal life to be boring. The Dakar pushes me in a way that normal life doesn’t. My worst memory by far were the two Dakars where we had to leave because of mechanical issues. I could accept being DNF because of a crash, getting lost or exhaustion. But a broken differential? A fuel problem? Horrible! Dakar is such a huge time commitment and both Pat and I are running complex businesses that require a lot of time and effort. Then again - those businesses help us to race Dakar so I guess it's an endless loop... After almost every race I think I'm going to quit rallying but sure enough 2-3 months later the obsession creeps back in and I spend my spare time trying to figure out what we could do better. Of course I think about my driving and Pat's navigation but I also think about race strategy - where and when should we push? Basically we're coming back because we have unfinished business! We feel we can do better and we need a new challenge! Two years ago we bought a Century CR6 from Century Racing. We loved our Hilux but we felt it was time for a change. The Century has more room for me (the biggest dude in Dakar...) and is much more comfortable over rough terrain. It has some disadvantages in soft sand and technical terrain but we feel we now have enough experience to work around those issues. We believe we'll be able to run 10-20% faster on pistes than in the Hilux, with the same margin of safety. In the dunes, it will be approximately equal to the Hilux, IF we don't get stuck. We're a true team and we need to agree on where we want to be, and on the risk vs reward spectrum. Personally, my goals are: 1) finish 2) have fun 3) compete.”
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