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  Ricardo Leal dos Santos  
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  Adventure and performance
Ricardo Leal dos Santos found, in the combination of his own features as a driver and his diversied sports history, the key to be nowadays one of the fastest pilots in the world to drive without a navigator. Naturally adventurous, Ricardo Leal dos Santos takes his courage and irreverence to pursuit
his goals sports wise, drawing strategies that have lead him to success.
His participations in Dakar rallies driving a quad and the challenge of facing the torments of the harshest o road worldwide competitions all alone in a car clearly show that. To be remembered is the fact that he was the rst Portuguese to participate in the competition in a quad in 2000 and to nish the race, despite a violent accident, in 2003. He proved his tenacity and how fast he can be when winning the O-road World Cup in 2005 and being the winner of the Solo category of the Lisboa-Dakar rally in the following year, driving a Mitsubishi Pajero DiD.
   
  Speeding career
  Ricardo Leal dos Santos’ career is actually lled with many more huge moments of success. As the great majority of racing pilots, he started in go-karts in 1985 and, once again, he stated his quality being the youngest federated pilot in Portugal. Competing against national stars like Pedro Lamy, Manuel Gião and Pedro Couceiro, he was vice-champion of the Portugal’s Cup in the Primavera category in 1987,
repeating the result in the following year, this time in the Verde category.
   
  Passion for the o-road
  After being away for a while, in 1997 Ricardo Leal dos Santos chose the quad as the economic way to continue his career and, with a very modest project, he began to write history winning the Optic 2000 Tunisie Rally. Then came the victory of the UAE Desert Challenge in 1998, being the rst driver to be able to nish both competitions in a quad.
  The perseverant spirit of the Coimbra’s pilot spoke higher when he was violently ran over by Josep Maria Serviá’s buggy and still managed to be the rst Portuguese to nish de 2003 Dakar rally edition, achievement only accomplished by ten worldwide pilots. This deed was acknowledged and Ricardo Leal dos Santos received that year’s Sports Merits Diploma, given by the National Federation of Motor Sports.
 
  In 2005, the pilot decides to try his luck in cars, driving an old Mitsubishi Pajero and the result was immediate: on his debut, he was second on the T1 category at the Baja Vodafone 1000. In the following year he entered the Barcelona-Dakar rally with practically no assistance and driving the same non competitive car, he pulled o an excellent fth place on the T1/ petrol category.
   
A World Title for Portugal
Driven by his excellent performance at the mythical Dakar rally, Ricardo Leal dos Santos made a decisive move that would enrich his career. After a tough ght and the victories on the Orient and Pharaohs Rallies, he conquered the O-Road World Cup’s Title in a quad. With this amazing result, Ricardo Leal dos Santos redirects his career to cars. Keeping the originality and irreverence of his projects, he chose to compete solo in the Dakar rally in 2006, winning the category, a remarkable endeavour only achieved by eight pilots. The deed was successfully performed again in 2007, a year that marks a few excellent solo performances in the national championship, including the Baja Portalegre, in which only six seconds kept the pilot away from the podium, throughout more than 130 world double teams.
 
Worldwide solo high performance
  Achieving results superior to the private BMW X3 for several times, the pilot naturally gained the attencion of the BMW X-Raid team manager, Sven Quant, who assures additional mechanical support to the team. At the Argentina-Chile Rally, despite a whole range of incidents which influenced negatively the outcome of the race, he proved nevertheless his velocity when driving several times among the ten fastest, and finishing the major race, occurred in the Atacama desert, in the 11th place.
 
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