Dakar FAE-TEAM 77

FAE returned to the Dakar Rally for the third time, this year as the main sponsor of FAE-TEAM 77 and its driver Pep Mas.

In 2022, we passed up the chance to take part, in order to better prepare for 2023. This year, we had a driver in better physical shape, a new motorbike – the 2021- edition Husqvarna 450 Rally Replica – and the experience of finishing 69th in the 2020 rally.

We knew that our aim of finishing between 30th and 50th in the general ranking was ambitious. With this in mind, back in November the motorbike made its way to Jeddah, waiting there until the arrival in late December of the team: Pep Mas as our driver, Anselm Moya (a technician with FAE’s MTC – Mobile Technical Centre) for support, and Emili Prieto, a Pedregà Team mechanic.

In the run-up to the race, at the Sea Camp in Al-Ula, we carried out administrative and technical checks and adjusted navigation and system settings. During the prologue stage, the safety airbag triggered, causing Pep to fall and injure his shoulder. Ultimately, this would determine our participation.

We made an ambitious start in the first stage, despite our driver’s shoulder brace, to be on the safe side. This is the Dakar Rally! The first third of the race met our expectations and we began to climb the ranking; the terrain full of stones under the sand affected Pep’s injuries, though, and we had to pace ourselves to reach the finish-line. We began to discover the harsh reality of the rally, reminding us that our excitement and all the work behind getting out that morning would coincide with a great deal of suffering.

We approached the second stage with the same attitude as on the first day: we got off to a good start in the first third of the route, but Dakar brought us another fall for Pep, which tore off part of the exhaust. Still in pain from the previous day’s injury, and despite this fall, our driver was able to repair the red-hot exhaust and continue, with still over 200 km to go to the finish-line. The concentration required for a very technical, rocky race, adapted to Pep’s abilities, took its toll, preventing him from maintaining the fast pace that we had imagined in the morning.

The severe weather conditions of the third stage, with a strong side wind, caused the motorbike’s rear wheel to hit a stone, knocking the driver off for the second time in a row, this time at over 100km/h, and resulting in him suffering a torn tendon in his left hand. Asia brought us torrential rain and hail shortly after, making it a true feat to continue through the pain. Due to the danger involved, the organisation decided to neutralise the remainder of the special stage, allowing Pep to contact the support team to pick him up. They found him soaked through and with symptoms of hypothermia, covered only by a plastic bag.

The team reached the camp past nightfall, flooded with rain, where the competition’s doctor confirmed that our driver had a torn left-hand tendon, a Bankart lesion and a fractured right humerus. Given the danger of racing again in these conditions, the FAE-TEAM 77 took the joint decision to withdraw, prioritising Pep’s safety and life over our passion for this sport.

Our return home was bittersweet: we left behind hours of training, sacrifice, missing out on family time, sleepless nights… And a bad fall ended it all. The affection of our loved ones made this year’s defeat easier to bear. They say that the main aim at Dakar is to finish; deep down, though, we all know that the only important thing is to make it home in one piece. That’s why we want to thank the whole FAE-Team77 for their efforts this year, and in previous years, for enabling us to race at the Dakar Rally and return home.

There was a parallel track in the Rally for FAE, by lorry. The competition experience that we gained led to a partnership agreement with the KH-7 Epsilon Team —the first hydrogen-powered lorry— to supply lambda sensors to drive the engine of this huge vehicle. We are eager for this partnership to grow in the future, and hope we can continue to work towards keeping motor racing alive in a world committed to protecting the environment.




The Ordinary General Assembly of SERNAUTO, the Spanish Association of Automotive Suppliers, took place on

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