It's a "dream come true" for two Malaga-based motor racing enthusiasts currently taking part in this year's edition of the famous Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia.
The pair had owned buggies since 2017, had raced in Morocco for more than ten years, competed in the Spanish Championship in 2021... "It was either now or never," said Alberto Benedito, 62, accompanied by Alfredo Rubio, 55.
Having completed the ninth of the 14 stages in total, the pair shared their experiences with SUR on their rest day. Driver Alfredo Rubio said: "Those who are here and know the Rally well are saying it's the hardest in history. We've been through everything: the rain, the cold... Going through the dunes at night is impressive. You can't see anything and it makes navigation difficult, but this is an exciting adventure. The places we pass through are very beautiful."
The pair's modest aim is simply to finish. "We're not going to win anything because we're not professionals," says co-driver Alberto Benedito, who admits the second half of the rally, in which they are now fully immersed, is supposed to be much easier.
The drivers are hoping to share their "child-like" enthusiasm with a wider audience and are broadcasting insights into the rally on Instagram through their project Al Dakar por un Grano de Arena, as well as raising funds for the Cudeca Foundation.
The hospice charity is selling raffle tickets for prizes such as some of the materials and equipment used in the race, as well as for shirts signed by football players such as Isco, Joaquín and Koke Contreras, who have been collaborating with them since they started up their project.