Dakar – Julien Toniutti at the 2019 Dakar motorcycle: from road rally to rally-raid! –

FROM ASPHALT TO DUNES

Julien Toniutti at the Dakar motorcycle 2019: from road rally to rally-raid !

Dakar - Julien Toniutti at the Dakar motorcycle 2019: from road rally to rally-raid! -

First quality required for a motorcycle rally driver on the road: versatility, to adapt in the blink of an eye to all situations. Lyon driver Julien Toniutti demonstrates this by tackling the French rally championship, the Tourist Trophy and the Dakar 2019 head-on. !

With four French championship titles in motorcycle road rallies (,, and), Julien Toniutti is at 36 years old one of the pillars of this discipline which requires multiple talents. Speed, of course, as well as an excellent "instant" reading of the bitumen. But also composure and a keen sense of strategy to manage risk-taking and long-term effort.

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So many qualities necessary to shine in other disciplines, such as the selective races on the Isle of Man in which the Lyon driver has been participating since 2014. As an excellent "jack-of-all-trades", Julien signed the "lap record" there. ‘a French rider on the Isle of Man in 600cc in 2016 (undefeated to date), just 8 tenth behind the fastest Frenchman in 1000cc in 2017 with a lap of 18’33 ”at over 196 km / h average ", specifies the person concerned who also finished 10th in category" Newcomers "the Manx Grand Prix 2014, a race contested in August on the 60 km of the Isle of Man which serves as selection test for the famous Tourist Trophy !

Dakar - Julien Toniutti at the Dakar motorcycle 2019: from road rally to rally-raid! -

Road rallies, Tourist Trophy and Ulster GP (road race organized in Ireland): Julien Toniutti does not have time to be bored! Without forgetting the late Moto Tour (re-baptized), on which he fell in the first stage on the new 765 RS that he was discovering. You said "comprehensive and diverse" as a sports program ?!

  • MNC of February 15, 2018 :
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And yet, the pilot of team 2B launches an additional challenge for 2019, and not just any: nothing less than the "king of rally-raid" which will take place in January 2019 in South America !

"I couldn’t refuse this opportunity"

The challenge is immense for Julien, who has no experience in rally-raid and even admits having "no idea what driving in the sand is" … His only strengths are his ability to adaptation, his handlebars and his experience in road rally navigation. A little thin, all the same, to tackle the Dakar: enough to wonder about the reasons that push him to switch from asphalt to sand, two totally opposed universes ?

Dakar - Julien Toniutti at the Dakar motorcycle 2019: from road rally to rally-raid! -

"I still ask myself the question …", explains Julien Toniutti with a laugh before correcting immediately: "no, that’s wrong, I really don’t regret! When Jérôme Delziani (, distributor of motorcycle parts and accessories) and Hervé Broyer (manager of team 2B) offered to be their driver on the Dakar, I couldn’t refuse It is a mythical rally and the opportunity to experience this type of adventure does not come every morning! "

"Even if I have no idea what driving in the sand is, I tell myself that I have a year ahead of me to learn," predicts the quadruple French champion in asphalt rallies. "And then there is also the relational aspect. Team 2B and Moraco are long-time partners who have enabled me to win two French championship titles. Our relationship is strong and it boosts me to give me 100 % ".

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Still, Julien Toniutti will face the most difficult of rally-raid, with more than 9000 km to cover in 15 days through different landscapes … The Lyonnais will pass from the extreme heat of Argentina – often more than 40 ° C in January – at the icy passages at an altitude of over 4000 meters in the Andes Cordillera, before facing dizzying dunes and "salars" (dry lakes) between Bolivia and Peru !

Dakar - Julien Toniutti at the 2019 Dakar motorcycle: from road rally to rally-raid! -

Enough to approach the challenge "with humility", in the words chosen by the courageous French driver: "I know several rally raid pilots and I know what their investment is in this discipline", he specifies, giving himself the objective principal of "finishing the race, without being interested in the classification". In view of the difficulties, reaching the end would indeed already be a great achievement !

To prepare for such an adventure, Julien Toniutti went back to the enduro bike "to work on standing up and off-road sensations". He will then take the start of "classics" of enduro such as the Enduro Top and the Rand’Auvergne, before leaving for Morocco to compete in the Merzouga Rally..

"Lots of courage and a touch of madness!"

The beginner in rally-raid will have to prove himself during this event of the Dakar Series to be selected among the participants in the Dakar … Asked on his Facebook page as to "the basis of his preparation" to face such a challenge, the pilot of the team 2B responds with humor: "a lot of courage and a touch of madness" !

Dakar - Julien Toniutti at the 2019 Dakar motorcycle: from road rally to rally-raid! -

"The difference is big between the road and the tracks, it is not the same automatisms nor the same muscles which are solicited", describes it while imagining already in the South American sand. "I’ll have to stay super focused and not gain confidence too quickly!"

In addition to this unprecedented participation in the Dakar, Julien Toniutti will also participate in the and, which he describes as his "big meeting of the season". Objective of his third participation in the TT: "to take advantage of the experience I have in this race to aim for a better classification and above all a better lap time".

From peaks at 300 km / h at the Tourist Trophy to sailing in the sand at the Dakar: rally drivers are decidedly the kings of versatility !

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