Mathieu Serradori first experienced the Dakar on a motorcycle during the Latin America edition in 2009 - quite the journey for someone who used to watch programmes about the African Dakar alongside his grandfather. With a love for adventure and the great outdoors, he’s ready to challenge the clock in the Saudi desert once again behind the wheel of an SRT buggy with his teammate and friend Loïc Minadier. Together, they hope to become the best privateer team in the Saudi sand, backed by Motul. We called Mathieu before the buggy is shipped to the desert for the 2022 Dakar Rally.
Mathieu, how did the partnership with Motul come about?
Motul is a brand with a history of passionate Dakar people. I used to ride the Dakar on a motorcycle as a privateer. In the Original by Motul class, I became acquainted with the brand and the support of a team of passionate people who helped private riders like us in every way they could. I am very proud of our partnership. Motul is a general sponsor of the Dakar Rally but didn’t sponsor a factory team in our class. Before we concluded this partnership, we already loved its technical support and in-depth knowledge, but this year we are going all-in together and will collaborate in every way we can. We support each other on all fronts. The Motul brand is linked to the best races and brands worldwide and we are proud to be one of those teams.
What are the technical benefits of collaborating with Motul?
Motul’s products are 200% suitable for extreme rally usage. The fact the products are being used by the best racers and teams worldwide is reassuring. The Dakar Rally is the toughest race on the planet, not only for the riders physically and mentally but also technically and mechanically. The gearbox, the engine, the cooling circuits, the shock absorbers and so on suffer a lot from the jumps, holes, sand, dust and extremely hot temperatures of the Saudi desert. We have the constant technical analysis of the Motul Racing Lab and the Motul engineers on our side, which gives us unique insights to prevent possible failures and detect engine stress. This is very helpful in terms of performance and reliability.
How are you preparing for the Dakar Rally?
Good question. People often only think about the physical side of the preparation, which of course is extremely important, but the mental side can’t be forgotten if you are aiming for a podium spot. On the physical side, I train all year long. I do triathlons, so I run, swim and cycle a lot, I have a physiotherapist who instructs me with specific training programs for my back to absorb shocks and I participate a lot in Enduro moto racing. But we equally train the mental part: reflexes, brain training… We also train on navigation and strategy. If you want to outperform the best drivers in such a long and physical race, you can’t be prepared enough [laughs].
What is beneath the impressive Dakar buggy?
Our SRT buggy is constructed in South Africa by Century Racing. It is a two-wheel-drive buggy with a strong Chevrolet V8 LS engine, a Sadev racing gearbox and transmission, topped by a Motec engine control unit (who are the references in the worldwide rally market). Specifically developed for our car is the tyre pressure system; on the dashboard we can control each tyre pressure separately depending on the challenge ahead of us. In general, the SRT buggy has proven to be very reliable and powerful.
How was your participation of the Rally du Maroc?
We experienced extremely high temperatures, which would top over 50 degrees Celsius. But the first days were perfect, and we were on track for a high ranking. On the third day, our buggy suffered a breakdown, but that’s motorsport. We were ruled out of the official ranking but were allowed to drive along. Unofficially, we ended fifth in the general ranking, so we are very confident.
What are your expectations for the 2022 Dakar rally?
We want to let the Motul colors shine during the Dakar Rally. Of course, we are not a factory team, but nevertheless our ambitions are high. You can certainly call it a ‘David versus Goliath battle’. But we’re up for the challenge and aiming for a top five overall ranking. We are very confident and thankful to the whole team that surrounds us and our partners like Motul. I am very confident we can do this!