For the first time ever, the X-raid team put a buggy on the starting line of the Rally Dakar. The original intention was to test and gain experience with this 2WD vehicle concept. But the “Buggy All Terrain” quickly became one of the fans favorite cars because of its eye-catching design as well as the nickname “Zebra Buggy” given to it. Driving the buggy to the finish line was the tandem of Guerlain Chiherit and navigator Alex Winocq who ran with a “Never give up,” attitude.
The two Frenchmen lived through one of these stories which only the Dakar writes. During stage 5 heading towards Antofagasta, Chile the message that the Buggy All Terrain caught on fire ran through the newsfeed. Almost everybody interpreted this as the clear ‘did not finish’ or DNF for the “Zebra.” Little did everybody know that Chicherit and Winoqc were able to extinguish the fire just in time before it caused any major damages. After putting out the fire, they tandem waited for the race truck and had the damage repaired, and then continued with the race. Everyone was surprised when the two arrived at the bivouac, which was then followed with an all-night race of the mechanics in trying to put back the Zebra in racing condition. Chicherit was amazed with the speed that the mechanics took in repairing the Zebra, and at the same time was thankful that they were still able to start the following stage in 22nd position.
All in all the “Buggy All Terrain” never let his crew and his mechanics take a breather. Very often, Winocq had to work on the car along the stage and fix it with some very improvised solutions; which gave him the nickname “McGyver”. Team mechanics also worked through a lot of nights but somehow, still managed to put the Buggy every morning on the starting line. With this effort Chicherit and Winocq managed to bring their “Zebra” through all the 13 stages into the finish in Buenos Aires.
“It was really a hard piece of work, but we reached the finish,” Chicherit said after the race. “A lot of people didn’t expect this before and even during this Dakar. It is a lot of fun to drive the Zebra Buggy, but there is still a lot of work to do,” Chicherit added.
“It was really a lot of work and there is still a lot to do. We brought the Buggy All Terrain here to gain some first experience with a Buggy at a Dakar. I think our mechanics now know each screw on this car due to the many times of assembling and disassembling. But everybody did a great job and helped to bring the Buggy back to Buenos Aires. We gained a lot of experience during this Dakar, on this base now we have to check how to move on,” said Sven Quandt, CEO of X-raid GmbH.