The times, they are a’changin’ at the Dakar Rally, with news that longtime director Etienne Lavigne is out, replaced by David Castera.
Castera isn’t a household name, but longtime Dakar fans should remember him, as he was a solid competitor at Dakar in the motorcycle class. More recently, he was involved with the car class as Cyril Despres’ co-driver (they won the Silk Way Rally twice). For a while, he was also the director of the Rally of Morocco, where he was instrumental in designing separate motorcycle and bike routes (could that possibly be a hint at Dakar’s future?).
The move comes as the Dakar is at a crossroads, with the rally down to a single country in 2019, far from its trans-continental origins. What difference will Castera make? Hard to say now, but with his broad range of rally experience as driver, rider and organizer, he should bring valuable perspective to the organization whether it runs in South America again, or goes back to Africa.
As for Lavigne, he’s still going to stay inside the Amaury Sport Organisation, promoters of the Dakar, so he’s not being shuffled off to the boneyard just yet.