Sports

Dakar Rally 2024: The two lives of ‘San Isidre’ (Esteve)

Isidre Esteve He is more than a pilot and more than an athlete. And not only for its example of improvement constant, but because of how he has focused his life since that accident left him in a wheelchair and took him away from the path he had set for his sporting life: winning the Dakar on motorcycles. Since then, everything changed. “Now my life is two halves. 50% of the time is for careers; the other 50, for help others“, he tells MARCA.

This is how Isidre Esteve rethinks his life when in 2007 destiny changed his step. I wouldn’t be able to run the Dakar on a motorcycle again… but that didn’t mean not running it. Taking advantage of your example and his charisma (few are capable of bringing together more than 50 employees of Repsol y Toyotatheir sponsors, on a five-day trip to Morocco and offer them all, one after the other, not just one but two co-drives in the dunes), and with the invaluable help from his wife Lidiaphysiotherapist and recovery, that ‘other half’ of Esteve’s life that passes no sand or racing suits It is perhaps even more valuable than the feat he performs in each stage of the Dakar that he manages to complete.

Isidre Esteve and Lidia Guerrero also ‘team’ outside of the races.Mediage

My life is two halves. 50% of the time is for racing; the other 50, to help others

Isidre Esteve, driver of the Repsol Toyota Rally Team

A 50-50 life

“Our life changed a lot in the 2007 accident“, he remembers. “From there there were things that continued. I continue driving although now representing inclusive sportfacing the same difficulties as the rest despite suffering from a disability.” But something bigger was born from that tragedy: “After the accident we saw a reality that we do not know. Until you encounter these difficulties directly you do not understand it and we think can we do something? And we tried.”

What starts then is the social project of the Isidre Esteve Foundationwith a ‘Bridge Center’ that help people with physical disabilities (people who have suffered a stroke, multiple sclerosis, or simply an injury after an accident) through sport and physical activity. “We adapt training routines to each disability to that these people are more autonomous and break that psychological barrier of thinking ‘what we can do’ or ‘how they will see us’,” he says.

Isidre Esteve competes on equal terms with the rest in the Dakar, despite his disability.

Isidre Esteve competes on equal terms with the rest in the Dakar, despite his disability.ASO/Charly Lpez

For this, our particular ‘San Isidre’ is not alone, but has the infinite help of Lidia Guerrerohis companion on this new path, and the technicians of the center, located in the CAR de Sant Cugat. For someone who cannot dress or shave himself to do so is a greater triumph than winning a stage in the Dakar: “They seem like small steps but they are enormous, because they give them autonomousdignity“. Or for a child with a disability to change the hospital for the CAR is, in itself, a giant leap: “Those children who only remember the hospital come with us to train at the CAR of Sant Cugat, and They can say at school: “I’m not going to the hospital anymore, I’m going to train where elite athletes do.”. Do you know what this is? This is the h…”

Those are Esteve’s two livessweat like the one who stops the most be among the top 20 every day he starts the Dakar and fights like anyone else to get resources so that your people continue to be able to add daily victories: “Collecting titles, winning races is a satisfaction, but helping people is another thing. There are no medals or trophies, but it means having dedicated your time to someone else you don’t already know. the one that has improved his life somewhat. And he comes, and he gives you his hand, his father, his mother… Then you take the car and You go home with a feeling you have never experienced before.“. Not even flying at 170 km/h through the most incredible dunes on the planet…

The Foundation

La Fundacin organizes different solidarity events to raise funds.Mediage

The children who recover in the CAR of Sant Cugat can say at school: ‘I’m not going to the hospital anymore, I’m going to train where elite athletes do.’

Isidre Esteve, driver of the Repsol Toyota Rally Team

And in the future, more help

There will be a day (“for which there is still time,” he notes) when Isidre Esteve -now 51 years old- will no longer compete. Then you will ‘free up’ 50% of her time. and by then the plan is to continue helping.

And he has an idea: develop a project to bring out young rally-raid drivers that one day they can, like him, fight for many things in the Dakar: “That will be the way in which I will continue in the motor world when I don’t have the strength. Because I wish I had had that help. when I was younger and why lend a hand This is going to be something I’m going to like.. But it’s still just an idea…”



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