Hubert Auriol was the first to win the Dakar Rally both on a bike and with a car. Nowadays he is organising the China Grand Rally and he is a passionate ambassador of 80 Day Race. Where does his passion motor racing comes from and why does he support the race around the world in 80 days?
What attracted you to compete in the Dakar Rally for 16 years? “In the beginning of 80’s we were dreaming of an adventure. We had a dream of travelling around the world after we started working. But as a student, you first think of finding a job! But the dream was still there… That’s why I decided to follow Thierry Sabine when he launched the first Paris-Dakar Rally! And this race changed my life. I was a fan of racing but I never imagined I could be part of it. When I realised that I was able to make some results, I took the risk to become a professional driver. My dream became true! And when the success is there, you don’t want to stop. So after winning on a bike, the next step was to try to do the same in a car. Easy to say, much more difficult to do!”
You have been the Dakar Rally race director for ten years and now you are organising the China Grand Rally. What is this rally about? “I have quite a big experience of all the rally business, as I had a winning results on a bike and with car. Then my 10 years of experience at the head of the Dakar Rally, gave me a more complete vision of the racing business. China is now the centre of the development and they wish to have a big international event of cross country rally in China. So we are working on that and I am sure they will succeed as they have the landscape, the spirit and the money. We just need to work to build the event, but they learn very quickly and they are fan!”
What is the competitors’ biggest challenge? “The biggest challenge for the competitors is definitely money! As soon as you have the dream and you want to make it to become a reality, you need to find the money. And that is key. So having a dream is great, but it is only the beginning. But when you really want something, you put all your energy to find a way to succeed. It’s like passion as are focussed on the result.”
You are an 80 Day Race ambassador. Why should people embrace this competition? “Since the 80’s, adventure has changed and it’s becoming very difficult to be original when you have a project. The real goal for the future is to keep the quality of life we have and a big part of it, is to be able to travel. But the main problem for the future is to reduce the pollution on the earth and to find new alternative ways to power the cars, plane, trucks etc. That is why a race around the world in 80 days is a real challenge to show that in the future we will find solutions to keep travelling without using fossil energy. Succeeding in 80 Day Race is a strong signal for our future on this planet. But it’s a real modern challenge with the taste of Jules Verne who had described his dream becoming true in 1873!”
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