Skip to main content

Driver and team founder David Bensadoun, 41 and from Montreal, is a senior executive at Aldo shoes and son of the company founder. He is also a long-time amateur touring car, rally and off-road motorcycle racer.

The Aldo Racing team is the only Canadian car entry in the 2012 Dakar rally.

1. If they beat the odds and make it to the finish line in Peru, they will be the first Canadians to do so in the car class.

2. Driver and team founder David Bensadoun, 41 and from Montreal, is a senior executive at Aldo shoes and son of the company founder. He's also a long-time amateur touring car, rally and off-road motorcycle racer. Navigator and co-driver Patrick Beaulé, 36, also from Montreal, is a sales manager with motorcycle maker KTM. He recently retired from professional off-road motorcycle racing after winning most of the major Canadian events.

Story continues below advertisement

3. Bensadoun caught Dakar fever as a child, when the original route from Paris to Dakar in Senegal passed his uncle's place in France while his family was visiting. "I'd be standing on the balcony and see all these weird trucks and cars and bikes go by." After about 20 years of dreaming, he began four years ago to prepare for 2012. The Dakar is the ultimate dream for any off-road racer like Beaulé, but it remained out of reach until Bensadoun invited him into the navigator's seat last year.

4. The Aldo Racing car is a bit of a Frankenstein built from disparate parts by Britain's Rally Raid International, which has been refining its Desert Warrior Dakar vehicle for the past 15 years. The custom tube chassis was bespoke fit for Bensadoun's 6-foot-5 frame. It runs a six-cylinder, 3-litre turbo diesel taken from the BMW X5 SUV that sends power through a ZF six-speed transmission to the four-wheel-drive system from a Land Rover Defender, with independently air-locking front and rear differentials. The 225-litre fuel tank provides a range of more than 2,000 kilometres, and Reiger suspension gives 12-inches of independent travel to each wheel. For all that, it costs about $150,000.

5. To get to the finish, the team will have to master disorienting navigational challenges, get over massive dunes, slog through talcum-soft sand, cross rocky plains and repair the inevitable breakdowns. But both say the biggest obstacle to reaching the end is to keep motivated over the 15 exhausting days. "If we're discouraged, the best is that David and I are not discouraged at the same time," Beaulé said, "so I can pump him back up, or he can pump me back up."

Follow Aldo Racing on Twitter @motobenny and www.dakar.com

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter