“We have one of the best trucks”
Old habits never die. So the bivouac of the Dakar 2023 will naturally see Claudio Bellina, Bruno Gotti and Giulio Minelli get together at night to share some pasta and some good time, like they’re used to do it since Gotti joined the two icons for their adventures in Saudi Arabia, following their trailblazing achievements in Africa and South America. But this time, Minelli is not aboard the same truck as Bellina (he will share his experience with a new pilot, Gianandrea Pellegrinelli). To replace him, the founder of ItalTrans called up a young navigator, Marco Arnoletti, who already roamed the Saudi desert alongside the Cinotto family. From the SSV to the truck, he will need to adapt himself… But he already has some experience with trucks in the desert, as well as a great understanding of motors as a powertrain chief engineer for Bugatti. Bring it on!
“This is my 16th Dakar and I’ve always done it by truck because this is my passion and my work. When I was young, I started building one of the most important Italian transport companies. From there, with my wife, we went to the finish of the Dakar 1992 and it was on my mind that I wanted to try it. Eventually, in 2004, I did it and it caught me. You do it once and you say: ‘ok, I won’t do it again.’ Then you do it a second time and you say the same. Maybe I’ll still be there twenty years from now, if the health allows me.
For 15 years, I’ve almost always been with Giulio Minelli but this year he’ll help another friend, Gianandrea Pellegrinelli, who’s doing his first Dakar with my other truck. And I’ve met Marco [Arnoletti] a bit by chance but he’s a brilliant guy, very passionate and extremely ready for navigation, which will be important with everything we hear about this Dakar.
I always start with the aim to make it to the finish. And I enjoy helping others who might have some incidents. But this year, I feel like we have one of the best trucks, so why not make it into the top-10?”
M.A.: “I’ve already raced with a truck, for example in the Africa Race 2018, but it’s the first time for me doing it with such a competitive truck. I’ve never been in such a position and I’m grateful to Claudio for his call. He was looking for a navigator with experience and someone he would feel comfortable spending three weeks together in the truck. I need to adapt myself to Claudio’s style of driving and to the truck. In twisty sections, it will be much slower than the SSV but in others we will be flying and I’ll need to anticipate. It’s the same with the dunes, we’ll take different trajectories.
My preparation focuses on two things. I study the rules, for example the 48H stage, the changes from last year, the course… That’s the theory. And I do lots of sport to be ready physically. I run, I do crossfit... I want to be up to this great opportunity that was given to me and I want to give it my best so this collaboration with Claudio can keep going in the coming years.”
MM Technology Team
- Marca IVECO
- Modelo POWERSTAR
- Preparador -
- Asistencia -
- Clase T5.1: Prototype Cross-Country Trucks
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