mini cooper dakar rally

The invisible entry at Dakar

Last week the Spanish media announced the story of a Dakar Rally Racer who believes he got transmitted the infamous CoVid-19 virus during the race. Spanish TV star and Rally Raid enthusiast Jesus Calleja entered this edition of the Dakar Rally with the Overdrive Team driving an impressive Toyota Hilux truck, similar to Dakar legend, Nasser Al-Attiyah. He had the goal to finish in the Top 20 but a problem not from the truck but health made it impossible to reach his goal (He finished 30th +12hrs after 1st place).

Jesus Calleja finished 30th this past Dakar after dealing with health problems. Photo credit: Dakar Rally
Jesus Calleja finished 30th this past Dakar after dealing with health problems. Photo credit: Dakar Rally

According to Calleja, during the rest day he had a high fever and after visiting the medical team the doctors confirmed with him that there’s a virus hitting the whole event at it seems half of the whole Dakar community had the same symptoms, the medics couldn’t figure out what it was exactly because it wasn’t a simple flu, it was something stronger.

The Spanish rally driver also commented that nobody in the Overdrive team was exempted from the sickness and the worse case was one of the cooks who couldn’t even stand up, he had to be sent home before completing the rally.

Today there’s no final word on if the CoVid virus was the actual cause or if that another type of flu. “We did blood tests that tell you what type of virus has you been in contact with, after we get the results back in a couple of months we will know for sure what it was.”

Current Dakar Champion, *Carlos Sainz, also spoke about it “During the rest day we had to send to the hospital a crew mechanic that presented pneumonia symptoms, he stayed in the hospital for weeks”

The Amauri Sport Organization (ASO) responsable of the Dakar Rally hasn’t made an official statement, the medical staff during the rally explained that they didn’t understand what was that violent-flu but they saw the symptoms to at least half the Dakar crew.

* Source

Enrique Bonafonte

Native from Spain, Enrique is an expert Rally Raid driver with more than 10 years of experience including two participations in the Rally Dakar.