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Dakar 2024: A podium finish, a great victory for the Pons Rallysport team.

Dakar 2024: A podium finish, a great victory for the Pons Rallysport team.

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  • Eduard Pons and Jaume Betriu manage to finish their first Dakar together, in the toughest edition of the five held in Saudi Arabia.
  • The team from Lleida overcame all adversities and finished the race in 16th position in the overall SSV classification.
  • "Crossing the finish line is already a great victory for us. We have not been lucky in this Dakar, but we have done a great job to get here".

Eduard Pons and Jaume Betriu have finished this Friday the 46th Dakar Rally, in their first participation sharing the cockpit of the Can-Am Maverick X3 number 407. They have completed the last 174 timed kilometers, a loop around Yanbu, in 15th absolute position in SSV, 19 minutes behind the leader. In the overall, after 7,909 kilometers, 4,671 of which spread over 12 stages of competition and a prologue, the Pons Rallysport team ranked 16th among the 28 surviving light series vehicles.

"It wasn't the Dakar we had originally envisioned, but it was a great Dakar. A Dakar where crossing the finish line is already a great victory for us. We weren't lucky, but we did a great job to get this far," said Eduard Pons.

The 2024 edition was the toughest of the five editions held in Saudi Arabia, a race that Eduard Pons has not hesitated to describe as "beastly". The Pons Rallysport team started suffering with punctures in the first week. Even so, after the fifth stage they had climbed to ninth place overall. From then on, adversities followed one after the other (turbo failure in the sixth stage, the 48h time trial; suspension and axle breakage in the seventh stage; more punctures in the tenth and eleventh stages...), which tested the resources and the resistance capacity of the team from Lleida, integrated in the South Racing structure.

"It was very complicated, I would define it as a beastly Dakar. We had few clean stages and the difficulties showed us what the other Dakar is like. But I was very lucky to have Jaume by my side, a true champion in every sense of the word", says Pons.

After two Dakar finishes on a motorcycle (best rookie in 2020 and 12th overall in 2021), Betriu was competing in his first Dakar as a co-driver. His work has not only been impeccable in navigation tasks, but also in solving any technical imponderable on the track. "Many days we saw ourselves out of the Dakar, but we were always able to come up with something to keep going. We've been through a lot, but together we fought for it and together we made it to the end", says the multiple national enduro champion.

Jaume Betriu was the ideal partner for Eduard Pons' first Dakar. The veteran rally driver started his "Road to Dakar" project in 2021 by winning the T4 category (now SSV) in the Spanish Off-Road Rally Championship. After 14,000 kilometers of competition in the last three seasons, also in the FIA Lowland Cup and the World Rally-Raid Championship, Pons was well prepared for his Dakar debut. Finishing the race was the result of all this previous preparation work and his determination behind the wheel, after two weeks at the limit of physical and mechanical endurance.

"The Dakar gives you an experience that not even five world championships in a row can give you. It has been a Dakar to learn many things, in terms of driving, vision of the race, mentality... All this will be very useful to all of us in the future", he says.

 

 

Automatic translation of the Spanish version available on www.todoterreno.pt
Source: Eduard Pon's official press release

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