Putting in many thousands of racing and training kilometres aboard his WR450F Rally machine in 2018, Xavier de Soultrait
is set to enter the fifth Dakar Rally of his career this coming January. Working hard to further improve his navigational skills, the Frenchman has his eyes set on climbing onto the podium in Lima.
If the race started tomorrow, I'm happy to say I'd be 100% ready for it, These last few months I've been working hard, riding my rally bike in the sand in France and elsewhere. Physically I feel strong and I've also worked a lot on navigation.
"Last year I had a very good first week in the dunes of Peru," de Soultrait continued. "We've done a couple of races there now so I am feeling comfortable with the terrain and the conditions in the area. The next Dakar will be shorter and I like this new format. We've made some small changes to the gearing and the suspension and our bike now is perfect for the conditions we expect to have. I've studied the stages a lot and made my plans for each one of them. If it all goes well I believe I have a good chance to be among the frontrunners and battle for a good overall result in Peru."
Playing a crucial role for the Yamalube Yamaha Rally team during the last two Dakar Rallies, Rodney Faggotter
remains with the squad going into the 2019 edition of the event. Enjoying an extremely consistent run that saw him finish 16th overall at the 2018 Dakar Rally, the Aussie will look to improve on this result in January 2019.
I'm looking forward to the 2019 Dakar. I've been racing some Bajas and training hard back home in Australia these last few months. I feel strong physically and also mentally. In the beginning of December we've spent a full week testing and training with the team in Morocco and that was a good morale booster for me.
"We have a great spirit within the team and I want to be there for my teammates if they need me," Faggotter continued. "I want to have a good clean run and do my own race. This Dakar might seem shorter, but we all know it's still going to be a long and demanding race. If it all goes well, I'm confident I can improve my overall result from last year and fight for a spot inside the top-10."