It’s finally over. Team Gstaad Automobile Club has successfully completed the 2nd Transafricaine Classic Rally from Paris to Dakar. And not only did they finish, but they came in a remarkable 9th place in the overall standings. Everyone here at GstaadLife.com congratulates Stanislas de Sadeleer and Vincent Janssens on this remarkable achievement. In a conversation with GstaadLife.com shortly after what de Sadeleer described one of the best baths of his whole life, there was palpable relief in his voice has he reflected of what he called one of the greatest sporting challenges he had ever undertaken.
Thu. 15.11.2007 17:14. This Paris-Dakar thing is no five-star experience.
When asked what made this achievement different from last years’ 11th place finish, he said emphasized the fact that the route to Dakar was much more challenging this year, and scoring well was that much harder because of the presence of so many semi-professional teams with support crews and auxiliary vehicles. Indeed every single one of the eight teams that finished ahead of Team Gstaad was racing with a support crew. Interestingly Team Gstaad was also the highest ranked vehicle with a petrol as opposed to diesel engine.
Sun. 11.11.2007 18:00. Janssens fills the Land Rover with gas. Team Gstaad's Land Rover was the highest ranked petrol-powered car in the race.
The last couple days racing saw a near disaster in racing terms when de Sadeleer and Janssens were penalized 450 points for missing a way point, an error which ended up costing them two places in the overall standings. But ultimately after listening to the stories of the past two weeks, we here at GstaadLife.com can point to two secrets of success. The first is the improved physical fitness of de Sadeleer, who trained hard for this year’s race and who was thus had the stamina to do all the driving, leaving Janssens to concentrate in his areas of specialty, namely navigation and mechanics. Not that he had much to do in the latter department, because the second secret to Team Gstaad’s success was most certainly the impeccable running of their 1994 Land Rover Discovery Series 1, which asides from a couple of very minor hitches a couple of days before the end saw absolutely no problems whatsoever. Really, not even a tire change. One only need look at the photos of the camps every night to see iridescence of the floodlights glowing in the desert night as they shone upon engine parts strewn across the sand as team after team repaired and rebuilt their cars after each day’s rallying. Not so Team Gstaad as all the heavy lifting had already been done by Hansueli Brand and the team from Ledi Garage in Feutersoey, and the fine running of the car was evidently a by-product of Brand’s experience with de Sadeleer in the 2006 edition of this race.
So it’s back to the real world for our intrepid duo, with de Sadeleer (see photo left, just after the conclusion of his African adventure) flying back to Europe on Sunday with the car following him by boat from Senegal. When asked if he would do it all again next year, the answer from de Sadeleer was unequivocal…"no way”.
Just remember Stan, that’s exactly what you told us last year! Congratulations again to you and Vincent.
- Click here to view and buy official race photos of de Sadeleer and Janssens
- For the final rankings, click here