Following last June’s announcement of their forced withdrawal from the 2018 Silk Way Rally, ALDO Racing driver David Bensadoun and his teammate Patrick Beaulé said they would enter the 41st edition of the 2019 Dakar Peru with their newly acquired CR6 prototype.

In order to prepare for this major event, the Canadian duo is announcing that they will compete in the Desafio Inca Rally that will run September 14-16, 2018. The three-day race, part of the Desafio Inca Dakar Series, will be run in the Ica desert of Peru.

Away from the rally scene for the last two years, David and Patrick wanted to get back in shape and test their newly acquired CR6 prior to the 2019 Dakar. Unfortunately, the team is unable to have their prototype shipped in time for the Desafio Inca due to lengthy delays from China.

ALDO Racing Back in Rally-Raid Action in Peru 4

To compete in the Desafio, ALDO Racing signed a full-service contract with the official Can-Am Peru Team. David and Patrick will on board a 172 hp Maverick X3 XRS Side-by-Side Quad. They will compete for the win in the Open Class.

“We really wanted to race our CR6 at the Inca rally, but we just couldn’t get it there in time after the China adventure!” said David Bensadoun. “The Maverick is an excellent second choice – in fact it has a Hp/lbs ratio that’s pretty similar to the CR6 so the performance won’t be far off. The biggest difference is that the Maverick is a 4WD and our CR6 is a rear wheel drive (RWD) so I’ll have to be sure to practice RWD lines in the dunes! If I get too spoiled by the 4WD, I’ll learn bad habits and end up getting stuck in the dunes in the Dakar next January! The other big difference will be the open cockpit, so we’ll be halfway back to being dirt bikers!”.

David and Patrick’s racing careers started in the world of off-road motorcycle. David won medals ridding his bike literally around the world. As for Patrick, he rode his motorcycle at the Canadian Pro Enduro level and then on the international scene.

All stages of the Desafio Inca are run in the Ica desert, which offers a great variety of dune areas including narrow, high flat dunes passes, soft zone sand areas, enormous dunes and other sections that will require precise navigation to stay on the right route.

“Patrick and I did really well in the Peruvian dunes in 2012 when we first started our Dakar Rally Raid careers. Peru is an amazing country and the dunes there are just incredible – huge, complex, with very firm sand on the windward side. The problem is that the backside of the dunes is ultra soft! As long as they have us heading inland on the dunes, we’ll be fine. But I’m sure the organizers have some misery lined up for us…. We’ll use the Inca to get back into the dune rhythm and learn how to dig again,” concluded David.

And yes, a couple a shovels will be on board their vehicle at the Dakar so that they, once in while, can dig themselves out of a hole.

The Desafio Inca: An early taste of the 2019 Dakar
The organizers of the Desafio Inca Rally describe the event as an early taste of the upcoming 100% Peruvian Dakar 2019. The three-day Inca race will cover around 1,000 kilometres. Each stage will be in loop format with two laps, the second loop containing changes in terms of navigation. All three stages will start from the same stationary bivouac located in the city of Ica. The sand dunes special stages will be very technical and very demanding.

“We are doing this rally to get back into Dakar mode after being away from rally-raid racing for the past two years,” said codriver Patrick Beaulé. “The way they set up a rally is different then what we experienced at the Silk Way. The Road Book Lexicon also varies. Also, we ran on rocky road at the Silk Way and now we will face huge dunes, plus the temperature will be a lot hotter. We want to run the Desafio Inca to have fun before we compete in the next Dakar.

“I love loop format stages because we are not the type to follow tracks left by other teams. We like to follow the Road Book instructions,” continued Patrick. “It may now be the fastest way to complete a Special Stage, but it’s the safest way. In 2011, we competed in the Tuareg Rally (in North Africa) were stages had double and even triple loops and we fared very well.”

Even if the ALDO Racing Team will not be able to fine-tune the set-ups on its CR6, David and Patrick will be able to get physically and mentally prepared and secure valuable driving time in the dunes and sandy Peruvian sectors prior to the 2019 Dakar Peru Rally. 

The Ica desert is part of the province of Pisco located 200 kilometres south of the capital city of Lima. As 70% of the 2019 Dakar will be run on Peruvian sand and that the Dakar route will hold stages in the Pisco-Ica region on three separate occasions, this is a unique opportunity for David and Patrick’s to discover and meet head-on the huge dunes of the Ica desert.

Photo Credits: Can-Am Peru Team