Everybody loves the story of the little guy. The independent who races for glory. The privateer entry into iconic races, who stand no chance of winning against multi-million dollar factory teams.
The story Dakar 2020 (nee Paris-Dakar Rally) was 2-time F1 Champ Fernando Alonso trying out rally racing with the Toyota Gazoo racing team. Nobody doubts Alonso’s speed, but the discipline is so different from circuit racing on asphalt, his chances of winning the rally (or even a stage in the rally) were slim.
But someone who had no chance of winning was Frenchman Mathieu Serradori of Team SRT. Serradori is not a professional race car driver; he’s a company manager who spends his holidays on the Dakar. He finances his own team (Serradoni Racing Team) and yesterday, he took a shocking win on Stage 8 of Dakar 2020, Serradori first-ever stage win for himself and his South African-built Century CR6 buggy.
Although Serradoni was one of several drivers with similar front-running pace in the early parts of the stage, but he was in a league of his own in the second half of the test and finished four minutes faster than Alonso, who earned a personal best 2nd place in the stage.
How impossible are the odds against a privateer entry to beat a factory team like Toyota (the world’s largest auto maker)? The last time it happened was 32 years ago when Belgian garage owner Guy Deladriere won the second last stage in the 1988 Paris-Dakar rally.