After finishing its decorated World Rally Championship passenger career in 2021, Julien Ingrassia planned to switch to rally raiding with the goal of participating in the rally Dakar Rally 2023. However, those plans have been put on hold for the time being as he stated on Wednesday that he doesn’t feel ready at the moment.
Ingrassia was scheduled to compete in the Dakar Rally in 2023 Micah Pisanoas part of a program that would begin with Rally Andalusia in June followed by the Rally du Maroc in October. While Andalucia was pushed back to October due to wildfires in the region, he spent June testing in Morocco with Pisano and under the guidance of Flight school Isabelle Patissier (Ecole de pilotage isabelle patissier), Pisano’s Dakar co-driver Max DelphinoWinner of the 2021 Dakar Rally Edouard Boulangerand four-time winner Michele Perin.
However, with the two rallies ahead, Ingrassia was ill-prepared for the competition and decided to drop the plans. The eight-time WRC champion with Sebastian Ogier had meanwhile worked as an analyst for Canal+’s series coverage.
“That doesn’t really come naturally for someone with a competitive spirit, and even less for a co-driver who has planning, calculation and success in his DNA… nevertheless, I have to announce that I will not be taking part in the next race, the Dakar Rally”, began a statement from Ingrassia.
“My career at the highest level in the WRC has taught me one thing among many: preparation, practice and experience are fundamental to building work, improvisation and success on ‘D-Day’.
“After we first created an extensive ‘battle plan’ with the aim of gaining as solid skills and experience as possible, unfortunately we were not able to implement this plan this year. So not being able to take part in the big events like the Morocco Rally and the Andalusia Rally that will be held in a few days, I admit that my preparation is far from over.
“The Dakar is a mythical event. I know my ability to adapt and understand, but in order to feel comfortable and efficient, the goal was that I get there with a first experience of this racing format, so as not to discover it on the spot in the most demanding rally raid event, and these conditions are not met. Nobody would think of starting the 24 Hours of Le Mans without having driven on a racetrack first!
“A sincere thank you to the people who have been part of my approach to Rally Raids over the last few months (Isabelle Patissier and Thierry, Max Delfino, Edouard Boulanger, Michel Perrin, BPS Racing, 100% and many others) and whatever happens In the future, I’ve opened my eyes to a remarkable category and job.
“See you soon, in a cockpit or somewhere else!”
Pisano has been participating in the Dakar Rally since 2009 in both the Moto and SSV categories. In the latter class, he finished thirteenth at the 2022 edition with Delfino as co-driver. He won the moto division at the 2014 Africa Eco Race.
“After the 2022 Dakar and with a good performance, I made an action plan and redoubled the work to bring together the best conditions to start at the 2023 edition and be as good as possible.” said Pisano. “As an ambitious person, I wanted to challenge Julien Ingrassia by offering to be by my side on this adventure.
“We both formed a complementary binomial and formed a strong team that worked together quickly and efficiently through the many testing sessions throughout the year.
“However, despite the efforts made, it was impossible for us to find an opportunity and a strong team to allow us to do a ‘test’ rally before the mythical race or to meet the conditions set by Julien.
“While frustrated, I understand his decision. It’s a shame, because we could have put our opponents on the wire.”