From a wheelchair to a Rally Dakar contender

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BERNAT LÓPEZ / ©RACERZ

The stories behind Dakar-competitors are not often normal. This is especially also case for the Spaniard Isidre Esteve, former Enduro-expert and upcoming Dakar-talent in the bikes, finishing 4th in 2001 and 2005. On 24th of March 2007, everything changed. He crashed badly after hitting a rock in a dry riverbed, suffering a serious spinal cord injury. As a result, since that day he relies on a wheelchair.

Even he was seriously near death, Esteve never gave up: he wanted to compete again. Eight years later in 2017 the pilot returned to the Dakar with a Mitsubishi Pajero and the coverage of the main sponsors Repsol and KH-7, achieving a 35th place in the overall ranking.

But the best part of this epic come back comes now… Early this year, Isidre Esteve arrived back home to Spain after travelling from Córdoba, Argentina, where the Dakar 2018 wrapped up.

The Repsol Rally Team driver said he was “very happy” with his performance and “ready and raring to go back” to the toughest race in the world, which he finished in 21st place in his BV6 prototype from Sodicars Racing with adapted controls on the steering wheel.

The driver from Oliana performed spectacularly. After travelling almost 9.000 kilometres through PeruBolivia, and Argentina, he reached the 4th place in his category, T1.2 (off-road modified diesel 4×4). He was also the second best Spanish competitor in a car, behind the overall winner Carlos Sainz.

Esteve will compete again in the 2019 Dakar, and he looks really fit! Just some weeks ago, the Repsol rider finished the Rallye du Maroc in the leading group.

The driver completed this challenging race of the World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies in magnificent fashion, reaching ninth place overall and second in the T1.2 category, as well as being the highest ranked Spanish driver in the car category in his prototype vehicle with adapted controls on the steering wheel. Isidre, you are a true giant!