Press conference Rally Dakar 2017
Top WRC privateer and Dakar 2016 competitor Martin Prokop heads the Dakar 2017 with new co-driver as he takes a gamble on well experienced Ilka Minor. The adventure of mixed Czech / Austrian crew of MP-Sports team start on 2nd January 2017 in Paraguay and after 12 Stages and one rest day they believe to finish successfully in Argentinian Buenos Aires.
„This will be something totally different than with the WRC car, but when you co-drive for 22 years, you just say to yourself what should I try and achieve more? Then you don´t need much time to decide when you receive a phone call asking for doing Dakar,“ says the 41 year old Austrian.
„There really is not much space for women at Dakar, some of them ride bikes there and they fight really hard. I am sure and tests have shown that Ilka is one of such lady warriors and she will manage. Dakar is also very much about psychical aspects“, says Martin Prokop, the driver of brand new Ford F-150 Raptor of Jihlava based MP-Sports team.
Minor has got all premises to cope with demanding Dakar. She is very experienced co-driver with 125 starts in World Rally Championship races. She was 8 times on the podium and helped Manfred Stohl and Evgeny Novikov to get their second places in WRC events. Last three years she has been occasionally co-driving with Norwegian Henning Solberg and their best was 5th place from Rally Portugal 2014.
But even with such brilliant curriculum vitae, getting ready for the legendary South-American competition is something extraordinary. „You can´t prepare a lot in advance because you get the itinerary shortly before the race and in WRC you can study it weeks before. I am also working hard on my fitness. The biggest challenge will be the sand, dunes and the orientation there. We had a good test camp at Abu Dhabi and that went quite well, including two fake race stages. But to be honest, I am still kind of nervous and feel deep respect. My new team mate Martin is a true professional, good-tempered person and has a quite fluent driving style what suits me.“