Saturday, March 2, 2024

Dakar veteran Alexandre Boutevillain passes away

Dakar Rally veteran Alexandre Boutevillain died Wednesday afternoon. His service will take place next Thursday, 27 April, at the Crématorium d’Arpajon in Avrainville, France.

“It is with sadness that I announce the death of Alexandre BOUTEVILLAIN DE GRANPRE,” said Pascal Bonnaire, who most recently ran the 2022 Rally in a truck. “He left us this Wednesday afternoon. There will be a civil ceremony on Thursday April 27 at 4 p.m. at the ARPAJON crematorium.”

Boutevillain made his début in 1984 as the co-driver of the #305 Toyota FJ45 driven by Yann Pawoé, who finished thirty-eighth. The Frenchman later joined Mitsubishi’s rally raid factory programme, riding alongside Jean-Paul Bosonnet in a Mercedes-Benz support truck (such vehicles were also eligible for ranking even if not “racing”, which remains the case today) starting at the 1988 edition where they retired.

He continued his involvement with Mitsubishi in his Mercedes-driving support role before working for Citroën’s own factory-backed stable. In 1996, Boutevillain finished ninth overall in the Truck category and one spot behind Bosonnet.

Outside of Dakar, he sought to revive the Rallye Infernal, an early cross-country rally in France that predates the former event.

Boutevillain’s passing continues a string of tragedy among Dakar Rally alumni in the past six months. Georges Groine, who also raced a truck, passed in December 2022, followed by another ex-Mitsubishi team member and navigator Matthew Stevenson in February. Croatian rally great Tihomir Filipović, who ran the 1990 Dakar Rally, died last Wednesday.

“Another former member of the Mitsu team who is leaving us,” wrote Bosonnet. “His first participation in the factory team (another before the customers) was with me on a 6×6 (retirement) in 88. After several participations for us with varying fortunes he continued the adventure for Citroën. The memory of a man with a strong character behind the wheel, let’s say a generous R I P for our friend. Thoughts for the family!”

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