The mid-Dakar ‘Rest Day’… Really?

It’s a day of rest today for the crews competing on the 2017 Dakar Rally, but what does that entail for the rest of the caravan? For many of them, it’s the busiest moment of the rally!

In the BFGoodrich® camp, for example, there’s plenty of work on the table for the fitters since the BFGoodrich® Dakar Service Center is open from 8am until 11pm. “We’ve already removed or fitted 522 tyres. That’s 12% more than in 2016,” observes the squad’s coordinator.

Meanwhile, BFGoodrich®’s technicians have been busy touring the brand’s pro and amateur partner teams to take stock of how the first week went and also provide advice for the remaining stages. “Sixty of the 87 starters were on our tyres,” notes BFGoodrich®’s off-road expert Dominique. “We inspect all the tyres that have been used to make sure everything is okay, and we also discuss matters like car set-ups with the teams’ engineers.”

Two additions to the staff arrived on Saturday, namely two off-road tyre development specialists who flew in from the USA, plus the brand’s director of motorsport Pascal Couasnon who is in La Paz for talks with the factory teams. One of the items on the agenda could very well have been upcoming evolutions to BFGoodrich®’s competition tyre range...

The teams’ mechanics are hard at work, too, as they focus on getting their respective cars into perfect shape ahead of the event’s second and final week. “Today is a major overhaul,” reports the engineer responsible for Sébastien Loeb’s Peugeot. “We started by carefully cleaning the car, inside and out. The next step is to replace the suspension, brakes and transmission system. We check absolutely everything.”

The caterers are being kept extremely busy, as well. They expect to have cooked and served some 8,000 meals by bedtime, not only for the event’s day-to-day followers, but also for the many VIPs and journalists who have joined the teams and organisers for the rest day.

As for the drivers and co-drivers, they were treated to a welcome lie-in before knuckling down to a programme of press conferences and promotional events aimed at the media and their sponsors. The majority are enjoying the afternoon off to relax, however.

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