“The Dakar tells you who you are”
What makes a legend? Dakarians who make it to ten participations are distinguished with the coveted status of “Legend”, highlighting their skills and craft to face the desert again and again. With the 2024 edition of the world’s greatest rally, Michele Cinotto is up to nine participations… But there is no doubt the Italian driver is already an icon. His racing career began in the 1980s, as a rally driver for Audi and Lancia. In the 2010s, the great outdoors called him into the Dakar, where he showed how much he still is up to date with the latest technological evolutions, with a victory in the T3 class of the Dakar 2016. Aboard the fast and furious RZR Pro R, he is gearing for a new assault with a new co-pilot. But Alberto Bertoldi is no stranger to the Cinotto family - he was a navigator for Pietro, Michele’s son, in the previous two editions of the Dakar. The two men aim for a strong result through their new association: a top 10, and then Michele can look forward to a 10th participation.
M.C.: “For me, the Dakar is the absolute race. This is the fifth time I do it in Saudi Arabia, with spectacular landscapes. I’m not so young anymore but I want to keep doing it for the coming years, as long as I physically can. The Dakar is a race that tells you who you are. It doesn’t matter your ranking in the end, it’s a personal test for anyone that does it. I like to confront myself with younger drivers.
Alberto has done the Dakar twice with my son Pietro, who recommended him. We had a great first in Morocco. He’s a biker, so he has a great feeling with navigation and with the terrain. The first goal is to not end up with a DNF. I have too many of those, including 2023, with technical issues. And then we want to finish inside the top 10. I feel we can manage this with the car we have. And then, we can only hope for something better.
The course is really hard this year, with long stages, and the 48-hour stage is a question mark, we’re all wondering how it will play out. Making it out of this stage without major issues will already mean a lot in this Dakar. I’m looking forward to going!”
A.B.: “The Cinotto family gave me the opportunity to express myself in this role as a navigator after two Dakars by bike. I’m grateful for the trust they put in me and racing with Michele this year brings an extra dimension. He’s been an expert of rallying since the 1980s. He is charismatic and it’s a beautiful opportunity for me to learn how a professional races.
Since Pietro was not going this year, Michele called me to offer me to do it with him. He wanted to have a different experience, with a younger navigator. We went to Morocco to get a feeling of how to work together and in the end we won it. But obviously, the Dakar is something else… Still, we’re coming to do the best possible.
The navigator is kind of the eyes of the pilot. We need to understand each other perfectly, to get into each other’s mind. It might be hard to understand from the outside but it’s essential in an event like the Dakar. I’m always pretty calm ahead of the race. It was already like that when I rode my bike. The point is to be able to get the best out of yourself every day with the challenges that are thrown at you every day. And that’s the beauty of it.”
XTREME PLUS - CST - POLARIS
POLARIS RZR PRO R
XTREME PLUS - CST - POLARIS
- Marque POLARIS
- Modèle RZR PRO R
- Préparateur -
- Assistance -
- Classe T4 SSV de série modifié
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