Dubai: Dubai-born Sebastian Hussaini, the 2007 quad cross-country world champion, will give it a go at the Dakar Rally — the toughest of them all — which is to be held from January 5-20 next year.
When asked for his thoughts on the challenge, Hussaini said: “I’ve been practicing hard — 400kms a day — and picking up as much knowledge and experience as I can. The good thing is that I got used to the heat while training during the UAE summer. My country is 80 per cent sand with the biggest dunes in the world so I’m not too worried.
“My main concern is the overall length, the mental torture. I know there are days when you want to quit but you have to push yourself to carry on. I’m hoping to finish in a top position” he added.
A three-time winner of the UAE Desert Challenge and having bagged victories in numerous motocross events in the UAE, Hussaini knows that regular training in deserts in the UAE along with physical and mental preparedness alone is not enough to help him achieve his podium finish. He will be participating with a top team from the Netherlands — the Maxxis Super-B GoKobra/SebSports Dakar team.
The team comprises former MotoGP rider, Jurgen Van der Goorbergh and European Touring Car Champion, Tim Coronel on Hayabusa-engined buggies, alongside Kees Koolen and Sebastian Hussaini on Honda TRX 700 quads, chosen for their reliability and independent suspension.
The quads have been upgraded with larger, custom-built fuel tanks to cover 300km without refuelling, specially made Maxxis tyres reinforced with Kevlar, navigation equipment such as GPS and engine modifications to increase performance, reliability, speed and overall chances of a top spot finish.
The Dakar Rally 2013 is the 35th adventure challenge that first began in 1977 with the original Paris-Dakar route. Flagging off from the Pacific coast in Lima for the first time in history, it will follow the north-south direction which has not been used since the event first arrived in South America in 2009.
The dunes of Peru, the deserts of Chile and after crossing the Andes, the gruelling topography of Argentina will test the contenders’ stamina to the very limits of endurance, before they get their first opportunity to catch some rest — eight days into the race. After this, the longest stage in the race will determine which of the starters might have a realistic chance at achieving the glorious victory of finishing in Santiago on January 20, 2013.