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Spain’s Farres relishing new Dakar challenge as UTV driver

The members of the Himoinsa Racing Team (from left to right) Dani Oliveras, Rosa Romero, Gerard Farres, Miguel Puertas, Ivan Cervantes and Marc Sola pose on Feb. 2, 2018, alongside Luis Villanueva (center), the deputy director of the National Sports Council (CSD), during a reception at that organization's headquarters in Madrid. EPA-EFE/Rodrigo Jimenez

The members of the Himoinsa Racing Team (from left to right) Dani Oliveras, Rosa Romero, Gerard Farres, Miguel Puertas, Ivan Cervantes and Marc Sola pose on Feb. 2, 2018, alongside Luis Villanueva (center), the deputy director of the National Sports Council (CSD), during a reception at that organization’s headquarters in Madrid. EPA-EFE/Rodrigo Jimenez

EFE

Spanish driver Gerard Farres said Wednesday that it was a dream come true to compete once again in a Dakar Rally, this time at the wheel of a UTV (utility task vehicle) rather than a motorcycle.

“It’s a dream for me to be back,” the 39-year-old Farres told EFE while standing next to his vehicle, a type of quad-car combo.

“It’s my first Dakar with a buggy after 11 years on motos, and the fact is we’re happy because we’re doing well, not taking risks,” said Farres, whose co-driver is fellow ex-bikes competitor and countryman Dani Oliveras.

Farres, who finished third in the bikes category in 2017, said that in the UTV division “there are around eight drivers who have won Dakar or been on the podium.”

Those contestants include Brazilian defending champion Reinaldo Varela, Farres’ teammate, and Chilean Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez.

“But we’re right there ... in a race that’s wide open,” the Spaniard said.

Looking back on his years competing in Dakar, Farres said that success on a motorcycle depends almost entirely on the rider whereas in a UTV “you rely more on the vehicle’s mechanics.”

He therefore said the navigation assistance he receives from Oliveras, who had been his teammate on Spanish racing team Himoinsa until last year, is essential.

The fourth stage of the 2019 Dakar Rally, which is being held exclusively in Peru and will conclude on Jan. 17, will be held on Thursday.


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