How to conquer the Dakar Rally – and media deadlines!

25 January 2016

Flavien Duhamel – Red Bull Content Pool

redbull_dakar_blog01Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool

As the 2016 Dakar Rally comes to a close, Red Bull Content Pool photographer, Flavien Duhamel, talks about the toughest-ever sporting event he covers and why his smallest, but most essential piece of kit comes from Inmarsat.

Well, the 2016 Dakar Rally is at last over and now I’m dusting down my equipment and finally unpacking after three weeks of dust, heat, mud and madness!

The amount of equipment that you need to bring to the Dakar as a professional photographer would probably surprise a lot of people – and of course it all needs to be transported with you from place to place.

Logistically and physically, Dakar is the hardest event that I will cover all year by some margin. But that of course is the whole point of the event and why people love it – it’s all about man’s battle to conquer inhospitable terrain!

One of the smallest but most essential pieces of kit is the Inmarsat BGAN Explorer 510 portable terminal, which can be unfolded and aligned with a satellite, more or less wherever I find myself, in order to guarantee a connection and be able to send photographs.

It’s not quite as powerful as the roof-mounted BGAN vehicular terminal on the Red Bull Content Pool Land Rover, but it’s a lot easier to carry, as it isn’t bolted to two tonnes of 4×4!

The final job on the Dakar, photographically speaking, is to capture the emotion at the end of the final stage, when the competitors complete their 10,000-kilometre journey.

This is a very privileged position to be in, as you get to witness a wide range of feelings at close range, from joy to relief to – in some cases – frustration, if the competitors have had a problem close to the finish or feel they could have done better.  The podium is also a huge moment of celebration, as the competitors are reunited with other team members.

redbull_dakar_blog02Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool

As a result of this amazing shared adventure, much closer emotional ties are formed between people than you find in other forms of motor sport and this provides some fantastic photo opportunities to bring out the human side of the Dakar.

Newspapers and magazines all over the world have an immediate need for end-of-rally photographs to meet urgent publication deadlines, which fall shortly after the finish. As a result, we rely more than ever on our trusted Inmarsat equipment to send our photos around the globe as quickly as possible.

See the best of Dakar Rally 2016 in Red Bull Content Pool’s photo gallery.

Inmarsat is the Red Bull Content Pool Technology Partner for Extreme Events, helping to deliver the latest, exciting Red Bull team news first to media and fans worldwide.


About the author

Flavien DuhamelFrench photographer Flavien Duhamel is just one of the talented and creative mix of global sports action photographers that make up Red Bull Photography. Following Red Bull Extreme Events around the world, they provide stunning images from the heart of the action, for editorial and licensed use through the Red Bull Content Pool.

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