For the past ten years before each edition of the Dakar, a procession has been held leading to Le Havre. Coming from the four corners of Europe, several hundred vehicles are flocking to this first objective of joining the port where the boarding operations for quite a unique Trans-Atlantic crossing.
Nearly 270 race vehicles, in addition to those being prepared in America, are preparing to enter the bowels of the Heritage Leader, the ship that will have the mission to cross the Atlantic and then to navigate through the Panama Canal to deliver this precious cargo to the port of Lima at the end of December. Before heading to sea, its holds will also be filled with 79 cars and 163 assistance trucks, as well as 59 press cars and 30 organization vehicles.
For this large gathering in Normandy, the Kamaz trucks coming straight from Tatarstan are traditionally the most punctual… certainly a way for them to make their mark, as they have won eight of the ten Dakars in South America. Together with their Belarusian road partners from the Maz team, they set up their first bivouac near the docks on Wednesday evening.
But this year, they are sharing their encampment with voyagers from even further away. The Mongolian driver Byambatsogt Udiikhuu has shipped his Can-Am by an assistance truck that has already booked 12,000 kilometres and a 21-day journey, passing through Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Poland, Germany and Belgium before finally arriving in France! And this is the easiest part of his challenge.
A first goal has been reached by some of the Dakar competitors, who had to finish preparing their vehicles for their boarding in Le Havre, on a ship bound for South America.
In total, nearly 600 vehicles were present in Normandy over the two days reserved for their welcome.