André Villas-Boas to participate in 2018 Dakar Rally

André Villas-Boas to participate in 2018 Dakar Rally

André Villas-Boas, Ruben Faria
André Villas-Boas and Ruben Faria

European football Champion as coach of FC Porto in 2011, then winner of the Russian championship with his Saint-Petersburg Zenith squad in 2015, André Villas-Boas now sets off on a new challenge. The Portuguese native will buckle up in a Toyota Hilux at the start in Lima for the 2018 Dakar Rally. His countryman Ruben Faria will be his co-driver.

Known as one of the most successful coaches in football, André Villas-Boas has also been an avid motorbike rider for many years

As a teenager in Porto, he spent as much time on the pitch as he did on the muddy tracks as a regular participant in the Portuguese Off-Road Championship. Early success as a coach quickly pushed André away from motorsport. That was much to the delight of FC Porto fans, whom he led to victory in the Europa League in 2011. But the desire to take part in the Dakar, as his uncle Pedro Villas-Boas did in 1982, never escaped the traveller who spent time in London (coach of Chelsea FC) then at Saint-Petersburg (Zenith) and now in Shanghai (SIPG).

While considering the idea of celebrating his 40th birthday on the 40th edition on a motorcycle, he was brought to his senses to finally embark on another project

“I spoke with my friend Alex Doringer, the manager of the KTM team, who told me that I would still need a full year’s preparation to get there and that it was better to consider doing it with a car. So I got in touch with Team Overdrive and here I am!”

Villas-Boas also called on the services of a first-cabin choice and his friend Ruben Faria to be his co-driver while he is behind the wheel of a Hilux pick-up, which is one of the fastest vehicles. It actually won the world cup under the direction of Nasser Al Attiyah. Faria finished 2nd in the motorcycle category on the 2013 Dakar. He partially retired from racing to manage the Husqvarna team in 2017. But Faria still competes in the Portuguese SxS (Side by Side) off-road championship. And he remains very enthusiastic to return to competition in an all-new role.

“When André called me to propose that I join him, I had to think about it… for at least five seconds. It is a great challenge and I think that we can put in a good Dakar, which means making it to the bivouac every night and not to arrive too late!”