Zé Helio replaces David Frétigné

(lifePR) (Munich, ) David Frétigné will not be able to participate in the Dakar 2011. The injured French rally rider is going to be replaced at Team BMW Motorrad by speedbrain through Brazil's Zé Helio.

Following promising tests and a successful development of the speedbrain BMW G 450 RR with David Frétigné, there were hopes for a strong showing of the Frenchman during the Dakar 2011. But Frétigné crashed in the early stages of the Rally OiLibya in October and injured his back. David appeared to be recovering nicely enough to compete, yet the duration of the healing process and a lack of physical preparation won't allow him to be 100 per cent fit for the upcoming Dakar. The team therefore decided to send Zé Helio into the race.

David Frétigné: "The Dakar kicks off in a few days. I wish our Team BMW Motorrad by speedbrain plenty of success in this new adventure. I hope that the fantastic job of the engineers and mechanics will pay off and the squad will score a top result. It's a bitter pill to swallow not being able to compete despite the huge efforts taken together with the Presport team in Perpignan (thanks to Christophe Millet and Dr Christian Fournols).

"I also have to thank my family for their support since my accident, especially Rodolphe Schwartz, but my recovery has unfortunately not been speedy enough to be able to race in a competitive condition. I will passionately follow the proceedings of the Dakar 2011 and do wish Frans (Verhoeven) all the best and a lot of success. We worked and tested together quite a few times. For sure he will give his very best. In the meantime I'm determined to keep working hard in order to return in top shape as soon as possible."

Jose Helio Gonçalves Rodrigues Filho, better known as "Zé Helio", will be the fourth rider on the team. The five-time winner of the Rally dos Sertoes in Brazil - the second longest rally behind the Dakar - competed for the team already this past August. He had to drop back with a technical problem after having led the race.

Zé Helio: "I'm excited to race the Dakar for Team BMW Motorrad by speedbrain. I will do whatever I can to present a good result to the team. After the setback during the Rally dos Sertoes I definitely want to use the opportunity to prove my skills and show what a strong bike the BMW is. My best wishes go to David. I'm looking forward to see him again at one of the next races."

Team BMW Motorrad by speedbrain enters the Dakar 2011, which starts on 1 January, with the following riders:

- # 16 Frans Verhoeven, The Netherlands
- # 17 Paulo Goncalves, Portugal
- # 32 Pedro Bianchi Prata, Portugal
- # 12 Zé Helio, Brazil

Team BMW Motorrad by speedbrain is supported by BMW Motorrad, Monster Energy, Michelin and several technical partners as listed.


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