Friday, 9 December 2022, 20:16
Alberto Benedicto and Alfredo Rubio are getting closer to their moment: a trip to Africa to experience the 45th edition of the Dakar Rally from the inside. They had just seen the presentation of the competition when they spoke to SUR. "There are nerves and uncertainty, but excitement above everything," they confessed.
These two motorsport enthusiasts, based in Malaga, will make their debut in the event that will start on 31 December and which, from the Costa del Sol capital, carries a motto of support for the Cudeca Foundation. 'Aldakar por un grano de arena' (to the Dakar for a grain of sand) is the name of the project. They hope to complete their mission, which will be played out at the 2023 Dakar Rally, with the help of former Malaga footballer Koke Contreras, who is sponsoring the initiative.
"The buggy is carrying a 117-year-old, eh?" they joked as they explained how they came to take part in this international event. Alberto, 62, and Alfredo, 55, are embarking on this adventure that did not come about by chance: "We've had this hobby for a long time, we've been going to Morocco for twelve years to do trips with friends and routes in deserts. In 2017 we bought a buggy, started making trips and met a team that introduced us to the world of rallying. Up until last year we did the Spanish Championship and the flower began to bloom. At the end of 2021 we thought: 'We have the car, the eagerness, we've practised...' At our age it was either to do it now or we don't know if we ever would," they confessed.
The day that their mission is set to begin is 27 December: "We leave on that day and start on the 31st until we complete the 14 stages. The objective is to finish it, we are not going there to win anything because we are not professionals. We're not thinking about anything in particular, just the desire to do it," they said.
On the trip they will be accompanied by Miguel Puertas, one of the most renowned Spaniards on the Dakar Rally, with 12 races under his belt, as well as the Buggy Masters Team technical team, who will also be on ride with Alberto Benedicto and Alfredo Rubio.
"The team we have was a good choice. We contacted Miguel Puertas and he has accompanied us and trained us in different tests and routes," Benedicto added.
They recognised that it hasn't been easy getting to the event and that it's now inevitable to feel a little nervous at the thought of doing it. "The most complicated thing for me is the uncertainty. No matter how much we know, hear and are told, we don't know what we're going to find there," said Rubio.
But enthusiasm and desire win out over everything. Koke Contreras, who is collaborating with them on this project, knows a lot about that.
"I've known them for a long time and I know how they are progressing. In the end this is nothing more than a story of overcoming themselves. Life has given them the chance to compete in something so exciting and they haven't missed the opportunity. Also, when they told me that they wanted to do it for charity, I liked the project even more," said the former goalkeeper.
"Given that we had the privilege of going on this adventure we thought we should support a charity and we chose the Cudeca Foundation," they said, explaining how it went from a dream of two motorsport lovers to reality.
The foundation, which offers palliative care to cancer patients, will travel symbolically with Alberto and Alfredo, with the name of Cudeca on the vehicle and on the technical team's truck. In addition, they will donate objects and material used in the race to generate profits that will go entirely to the foundation.
"Our desire to excel will make us live through the Dakar adventure while remembering others. That is our motto. We go with the responsibility of carrying not only a number (349), but the name of Cudeca. That's our humble grain of sand," said Alberto Benedicto.
They will be broadcasting a daily diary of how the race is evolving from their social media channels (@aldakarporungranodearena) in order to allow willing participants to join their initiative. Charity, a desire to improve and a touch of Malaga go hand in hand in Alberto Benedicto and Alfredo Rubio's Dakar 2023 mission.
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