Baldivis off-road driver Adrian Di Lallo is not one to shy away from a challenge, but even he admits the thought of tackling next year’s Dakar Rally is a daunting prospect.
A veteran of two Australasian Safaris, Di Lallo will be become the first West Australian four-wheel-drive competitor to embark on the 15-day endurance event, widely regarded as the toughest and most dangerous race of its kind.
The 2013 race will be run in South America for a fifth consecutive year, starting in Peru and finishing some 9000km later in Chile.
Di Lallo admitted the race — which has claimed the lives of 25 competitors since 1988 — was not for the fainthearted, but said crossing the finish line would prove the realisation of a long-held dream.
‘‘As much as it’s exciting, it’s also very daunting,’’ Di Lallo said. ‘‘When I first said I wanted to do Dakar I think everyone thought I was crazy.
‘‘But anyone that does motorsport, whether it’s Formula 1, V8 Supercars or Moto GP, they all want to win Dakar. It’s the pinnacle of motorsport.
‘‘Some drivers just say ‘no way, it’s too crazy’.’’
While Di Lallo is yet to experience the Dakar Rally, his new car — an Isuzu D-Max—was driven by a Swedish team in last year’s race.
Di Lallo is also preparing the car for a tilt at September’s Australasian Safari — a seven-day, 3000km race through the WA outback. The 37-year-old finished third in last year’s event and is targeting a higher place on the podium when the race wraps up in Geraldton on September 29.
‘‘The first time we raced, we came sixth and last year we were third,’’ he said. ‘‘So this year we’re hoping to win.
We’re in a very different car and this Isuzu is a full race car. Really, there’s three main things that have to come together for you to win a race and that’s the team, the car and luck.
‘‘You’ve got to have a sixth sense about when you can go flat out and when you can’t.’’
The Dakar starts in Lima, Peru, in January and finishes in Santiago, Chile.