The Kebab Kids

Driver: El Capitan Carlos

After being rejected by his parents at birth, Carlos was adopted by a family of Andorran goat herders. By the age of seven, Carlos was pedaling the family tractor, up and down the Pyrenean mountain passes as fast as that old Massey Ferguson would carry him. His time behind the wheel of that lumbering old agricultural behemoth will stand him in good stead on the rally – it had similar handling characteristics to the battered old Opel he’ll be driving to Africa.

Taking advantage of the somewhat lax age verification laws in Andorra, Carlos took and passed his driving test aged just 14. After one sangria fuelled evening, he still holds the record for the fastest speed ever recorded by a minor on a Spanish road (the policía are yet to catch up with him, so he’ll be going like stink through Spain on the rally). Lucky the speedo doesn’t work in the car, eh?!

When he was 17, Carlos was discovered by a young Bernie Eccles Cake who asked him to test a Formula 1 car. After setting a series of scintillating times at the Jarama circuit, Formula 1 teams were begging Carlos to sign for them, but this unassuming Andorran goat herder wasn’t looking for a life of glitz and glamour. So, he turned down the offers and moved to the UK to study English.

He’s led a fun interesting life since then enjoying bird watching most weekends. But, deep down inside, he’s always had that burning desire to see whether, had he chosen a different path, he could have been a driving god. The natural talent is still there – nobody can get airborne over Oxford’s speed humps like Carlos.

So, when the opportunity to drive on the Plymouth-Dakar arose, something stirred inside Carlos. It turned out to be a bad reaction to the previous night’s kebab, but he took it to be a sign. The Kebab Kids would do the Plymouth-Dakar. And, assuming he isn’t recognised by the Spanish police, and the car holds out, you won't see Carlos for dust.


Navigator: Lorraine Armstrong

Lola gets lost in the supermarket car park!

It is fair to say that map reading doesn’t come naturally to Lorraine. In fact, reading in general is a bit of a struggle. So you’d be naturally inclined to think that this, coupled with the fact that she gets a bit queasy when she’s driving to the wine bar on a Friday night, doesn’t necessarily make her an obvious choice to navigate from Plymouth to Dakar on one of the most gruelling rallies in the world.

However, it’s not on Europe’s wide, well signposted motorways and A roads that the rally will be won or lost, it’s on the confusing, sandy tracks of the desert in western Africa that the navigators will be sorted from the passengers. And this is where Lorraine's natural instincts will kick in.

The fourteenth daughter of a Bedouin tribal leader, Lorraine doesn’t need satnav, maps or compasses in order to navigate. Using age old techniques developed by her ancestors, Lorraine once crossed the Sahara using nothing more than the stars, the wind and the dung of her pet meerkat, Weemit. Armed with this natural sense of direction, whilst her fellow competitors are poring over poorly drawn maps of desert tracks and busy bribing guides trying to find the right route, Lorraine will simply stick her head through the sun roof (err what sun roof?), check which direction the camels are facing and disappear over a distant horizon without a second thought.

Carlos and Lorraine can already hear the call of the African wild. And it’s calling their names.

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