Fuertes-Vallejo: "Now we have to shine, touch that"

The SsangYong couple visited AS before facing their third Dakar with a better car and higher aspirations. They are no longer worth just finishing.

"We are very excited." And it shows. Óscar Fuertes and Diego Vallejo visited the editorial of Diario AS in full preparation of their third Dakar Rally with SsangYong. They are no longer rookies in the test, they know what they are facing and that is precisely why they know that they are no longer worth just finishing as they have done in the previous two. This time, in Saudi Arabia, they have to go a step further. It is what they convey with their eyes, with their gestures and with their words: "We have already shown twice that we can beat the race, that is, finish it, now we have to shine."

"Sainz has always said it, there is a moment in life where we have to shine, and we have to play that. We have confidence in being able to do it, it will not be a race to 'see if I'm not wrong' , but more than "let's see if I make a difference." Do not say that we have not tried, "adds Fuertes, the man behind the wheel, with the illusion coming out through all the pores, and his trusted man, his friend, gives a clue that they can play that: "In the first Dakar I told him that I could not run anything, and now I tell him what I like" .

Apart from that, from the experience, what has changed to raise the bar? First, the car. The Korando DKR "is still a rear-wheel drive buggy, but it has nothing to do" with those who have had before, the Tivoli with which they were 32nd in 2018 and the Rexton with which they finished 33rd at the beginning of the year. "It is much more competitive, it behaves better. And, in addition to other improvements, the top speed of the previous one was 177 km / h, and this reaches 200," says Oscar. "Above all, it is more comfortable," says Diego. And the following, the tour.

"We are going to do well, it is faster," says the Madrid driver before explaining the "positive" of the change of scenery: "It is very different: tracks, dry rivers, sand ... In the last two years everything was sand and , if we stay in South America, there would be no rally. The spirit of the Dakar returns. It will be very long and very hard. " And very often ... They will share desert with two stars: Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso. "Three years ago we didn't even know what the Dakar would do, now we're going for the third and running with two idols," says Íñigo Trasmonte, director of communication for SsangYong.

"I am delighted, they are idols, I will tell my grandchildren that I ran with them", the Galician has emotion. And how do they see rookie? "With my heart, I think he will do it with milk, with his head ... It's like going from 100 meters to a marathon. Now, getting in here is to praise," adds Vallejo, and Fuertes says about the arrival of the two-time champion of Formula 1 to the discipline of the toughest and most demanding raid on the planet: "It depends on how you take it. If you do the first days behind Giniel De Villiers you can reach the rest day within the Top 7". Now, imagined, he prefers to do it with a photo of the best Spaniards: "Sainz, Alonso and Fuertes, imagine ... (laughs)". Why no.

Photos from as.com
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