Wednesday, January 28th, 2009
After crashing in the Dakar Rally on the punishing eighth stage, Team Rally Australia was forced to retire following injuries to team rider Christophe Barriere-Varju and extensive damage to the team bike. Arriving home on the weekend the team expressed their disappointment at not being able to complete the 2009 event, although happy to have escaped the tough terrain alive and thankful that Barriere-Varju’s injuries were not life threatening. With their sights firmly set on the 2010 Dakar the team have set up a strong program for the next 12 months to ensure they arrive back at the start line ready to compete in peak condition.

Having carried out repairs and catching up on some much-needed rest, the team commenced the eighth stage of the Dakar in high spirits and were looking for a much stronger second half of the Rally. However, a mere fifty kilometres from completing the stage, Barriere-Varju took a wide line coming into a right hand bend and unsuspectingly entered a gutter full of boulder rocks. Managing to avoid injury on first impact by removing his hand from the handlebars, Barriere-Varju subsequently crushed his left hand whilst trying to keep the bike upright.

Hoping it was just a bad strain Barriere-Varju pushed through the remaining distance of the special stage, managing to finish in 89th position. X-rays confirmed the worst upon arrival at the bivouac, with Barriere-Varju sustaining a broken radius in two places, and damage to the scaphoid also apparent. Whilst the breaks were relatively minor, it was damage to the scaphoid that was deemed too risky by medics. The team had no choice but to retire from the Rally.

The team’s dismay was mirrored by Barriere-Varju. “I am of course extremely disappointed in myself for getting injured,” he stated. “But I am more disappointed for my mechanic, Steven Clarke, who was not able to cross the podium with me in 2009 in Buenos Aires on the 18th. I’m also disappointed for all the people and race viewers that wanted to see Team Rally Australia across the finish line”.

Team Rally Australia admits that 2009 has not been their year, with numerous unrelated mechanical issues hampering their progress. “Sometimes luck is just not on your side, and we must accept it,” explains Barriere-Varju. “There is always next year, and all the physical preparation will not be wasted. Each day during the Rally I was able to be physically strong - especially entering the 300-500km mark.

“The 2009 Dakar is now over but Team Rally Australia will get ready for 2010 and beyond. It is a journey that started a few years ago, and in 2009 we hit a small bump. We will come back stronger next year”.

Now back in Australia, the team is immediately available for media interviews, and can be contacted through the Commercial Director (see contact details).

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Luke Jenkinson Director - Nexus MG / Commercial Director - Team Rally Australia

P: 07 3411 4848
M: 0413 180 455


Team Rally Australia arrives back home disappointed but more determined than ever to do better in 2010.



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