Dakar 2021 Q&A: the 2nd place winner Benjamin Melot


It looks like that last year‘s 2nd place Dakar winner Benjamin Melot in the Orginal by Motul category has all the cards to win the 43rd edition of the toughest rally raid in the world.

The Frenchman will attack Dakar the fourth time in his career, almost 8,000 km route in his customary attacking mode.

B. Melot made his Dakar debut in 2018. Meanwhile, the rally raid from 2011 till 2017 he saw from the other side – he was working as a mechanic and helped such stars like Cyril Despres.

“I think ASO organization worked very hard in Saudi Arabia to prepare a good rally for us”, to Racinglife.news said B. Melot.

The Frenchman shared his thoughts about differences between South America and Saudi Arabia, the following Dakar and the main goal in the Middle East.

You have seen Dakar in South America and now you see it in Saudi Arabia. What are the differences between these two continents?

Saudi Arabia has an incredible landscape. It was very great to discover new places and areas in this world. Of course, there were suprises like the weather temperature. In the morning was very cold.

It was a little bit crazy, because there were a lot of dunes and stones. It was a good experience and different from the South America. Less people watched the rally comparing with South America. But I think, in few years it will be more spectators and it will be much easier to organize everything.

Now is worldwide pandemic and preparation for rally was different too. How did you prepare for Dakar 2021?

The preparation was pretty the same as always. Just every year I had a physical preparation quite early, but this year I had some injuries, so I’ve started not in the mid of July, but in August. I cycle, I go to the gym, I do fitness and a lot of preparation for balance. And of course, mental preparation is very important. I do some kind of exercises for it too.

Everyone knows that Dakar is the toughest rally raid in the world and you had already competed in three races. What was the most toughest for you in this rally?

Definetely, I didn’t expect this kind of terrain which I saw in the beginning of the race. It was a lot of stones and I was really not ready for it. On the second day I had a crash, because I felt tension and stress to ride through this terrain.

“I didn’t expect this kind of terrain which I saw in the beginning of the race.”

— Benjamin Melot.

It will be the fourth your Dakar. What will be the main your goal in Saudi Arabia?

In 2021 Dakar I will start in bike category. The goal will be to win this category and to get better than last year. I will try to improve my overall ranking as well. Of course, the main thing is to finish and to avoid mistakes. Obviously, I will try to do my best.

2020Bike / 34th / 2nd place in Original by Motul category
2019Bike / 21st
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