You wouldn’t expect to find a culture for rally on the tropical island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. Yet, that is exactly where Xavier Lachkar will be racing as a rally driver, with the help of Toyota and Motul’s local distributor CFAO Motors. We had a chat with Xavier while he was relaxing in his cabin in the Mauritian jungle, overlooking the sea.
Xavier, what’s your background, and have you been a rally driver all your life?
I have dual citizenship. My roots lie in France, but I moved 22 years ago to Mauritius following my parents' decision to come and live here. I then decided to stay because I love outdoor sports. Ever since I was a youngster, I have been racing cars. I started racing with an unconventional Toyota RAV4 and then moved on to a heavily modified Toyota Celica GT4 Carlos Sainz edition. I often finished second or third, but as I was racing on a low budget, the car missed the performance to be a real winner. Afterwards, I quit the motorsport world so I could concentrate on surfing, kitesurfing, and downhill mountain biking. In 2021 my talented mechanic friend Roshan Ramdin from Roro Performance built me a drift project car. With this, I participated in the Red Bull Drift car park. We won the Mauritian qualifier and ended up coming 13th out of 21 drift cars worldwide. That was a huge boost for my social channels. From that moment, things really took off and I realised I had to start racing again.
Mauritius is known for its tropical beaches and tourists. How does rally fit in this picture?
Maybe you wouldn’t expect this, but we have 1.2 million people on the island and rallying is a culture here. We have a lot of asphalt and open roads amidst the beautiful nature, which makes it a nice scenery for rally drivers. We have a national championship, the ‘Motor Racing Club’, which I will be competing in with over 35 competitors. We often have rally drivers coming from Reunion Island to compete here in Mauritius.
How did the partnership with Motul start?
After the Red Bull Drift challenge, I was actively looking for partners, and I was building a new car, a Toyota Yaris GR, which has already a strong package straight out of the factory. The local Toyota distributor was supporting me, and he introduced me to the people from Motul. We concluded a partnership, and from now on I will race in the famous red and white Motul colours, and I will be a Motul ambassador. My new car livery will also be 100% Motul branded. The Yaris GR is fully custom-built to FIA standards and will be revealed in the Toyota dealership on the 8th of July. Coincidently it will also be the first Yaris GR on the island.
What does the season look like?
I will compete in the first Motul-sponsored MRC Rallye in Mauritius on 16-17th July, the ‘Ronde Toyota’. In total, we have five national rally events. Practically all brands compete in this championship. My future plans are to compete in Reunion and South Africa. But let’s make some results in this championship first.
How does Motul benefits your car’s performance?
It’s a mix of performance and proven reliability. I simply know Motul is the brand to go for. I have seen so many engines and race championships who ride with Motul. Its products are simply the best. Over the decades the brand proved its strength in performance lubrication under the most severe circumstances. Reliability is key in rally racing if you want to win. We use Motul 300V oil, but also the greases, coolants, RBF Brake fluid and all other lubricants available at Motul.