HOLD ON TIGHT, DAKAR STAR CYRIL DESPRES IS ABOUT TO TAKE YOU ON A RIDE YOU WON’T FORGET!
Five-time Dakar winner Cyril Despres from France is Red Bull TV’s guest reporter on the fourth round of the World Rally Championship: the legendary Tour de Corse in Corsica, which is the first pure Tarmac event of the season, nicknamed ‘the Rally of 10,000 Corners’. That is because of the endless series of hairpin bends on the stunning mountain stages, through some of the most breath-taking scenery on the calendar.
The cars are low to the ground in asphalt specification, hugging the narrow roads to conquer the mountains overlooking the Mediterranean at speeds you will not believe. It is something of a contrast to the vast and arid deserts that Cyril is best known for.
The Frenchman dominated the epic Dakar Rally on motorbikes, before switching to cars three years ago as part of Peugeot’s ‘Dream Team’. He is now teammates with the most successful rally driver in history – Sebastien Loeb – and finished just behind the nine-time champion on the podium of this year’s Dakar Rally in January after nearly 10,000 kilometres of competition. Cyril also tested a World Rally Car last year, showing plenty of pace even when there was no sand to be seen. Therefore, it is clear that he knows a bit about the World Rally Championship too.
The 43-year-old is a frequent visitor to Corsica on holiday, where he loves to ride bikes both with and without engines through the incredible landscapes. He knows the place off by heart –just check out his restaurant tips – making this adventurous Frenchman your perfect guide to his home rally. Watch it all on Red Bull TV
Cyril Despres: Five-time winner of the Dakar Rally! Name: Cyril Despres Date of Birth: January 24 1974 Nationality: French Machine: KTM 450 Rally Debut: 2000 Dakar (Senegal) to Cairo (Egypt). Finished 16th Best Dakar: Four-time champion (2005, 2007, 2010, 2012) Unlike many of the Dakar champions that have come before him, Cyril didn’t grow up in a family with an established love of motorsport. Cyril’s inspiration came instead from watching a friend riding in motocross competitions.
Once Cyril caught the biking bug, he soon set his sights on the ultimate challenge, the Dakar Rally. Through sheer determination, Cyril got himself to the start line of the first Dakar of the new millennium. An impressive 16th place finish saw him rewarded with a contract to race for BMW. Cyril enhanced his reputation as a star of the future in the next few editions of the Dakar as he started to win stages and got himself onto the podium. In 2005, now riding with KTM, Cyril won his first Dakar Rally.
The fact Cyril only won two stages on the route between Barcelona and Dakar demonstrates the Frenchman’s intuitive knowledge of the tactical side of the race. In 2007 Cyril won the last Dakar Rally to be staged in Africa and he also tasted success in South America with his 2010 title. Cyril’s natural charisma sees race fans get behind him wherever he goes in the world. 2012 got off to a perfect start for Cyril as he claimed his fourth Dakar Rally crown. However, the majority of remaining months of the year were spent recovering from a series of injuries until he got back on his bike in October to win his fourth Rallye du Maroc. The victory proved to all his competitors’ one thing, Cyril is back and he means business.