Magicians, guardian angels, saviours
Close to 50 volunteer mechanics look after the participants’ vehicles. Seven of them spend the days out on the terrain to be on location in the event of a mechanical assistance call. Five workshops take care of repairs at the bivouac, one of which specializes in SSV vehicles and the electric cars in E-Gazelles VINCI Immobilier Class. The mechanics’ schedule is opposite to that of the rest of the Rallye. “They are like our saviours. They perform miracles while we sleep.” When the teams return at the end of the day, they have one hour and not a minute more to deliver their vehicles and mechanics sheets to the head mechanic. If they exceed the one-hour time limit, they are penalized one penalty kilometre per minute.
The mechanics generally begin their work day around 6 p.m., and sometimes they work through the night to repair a vehicle. Vehicles may require a simple checkup or more serious repairs requiring several hours of work. “I go every day, as soon as I get back, because we work our vehicles hard and it’s important for them to be checked. They’re magicians and if they weren’t there, a lot of teams would never finish the competition”, declares the driver of Team 177 (Delphine BICHOFFE / France CLEVES - Greentech). For Team 159 (Amandine LEPREUX / Elodie COTTER - Takoma), “they’re our guardian angels; they reassure us.”
The mechanics often achieve “minor miracles” and manage to get disabled vehicles up and running again. Head mechanic Christian Viano is in charge of this parallel world. “We’re all passionate about 4x4s and rallies here”, he explains. Passion, pushing one’s limits and adventure can also be found at the Bosch Car Service workshops…