Dakar Rally Truck pioneer Georges Groine dies at 88

Georges Groine, one of the Dakar Rally‘s trailblazers in the Truck category, passed away Wednesday at the age of 88. He had lost his vision after suffering a stroke a few years prior.

Nicknamed “Jojo”, Groine made his Paris–Dakar début at the second edition in 1980 with his son Bruno as co-driver, but failed to finish. He rebounded by finishing third in class the following year before breaking through with back-to-back victories in 1982 and 1983 to become the category’s first multi-time winner. As one of the top Truck drivers in the Rally, he particularly drew attention for his rivalry with Dutch racer Jan de Rooy, whose son Gerard oversees Dakar outfit Team de Rooy.

The 1982 win came in a 1–2 finish for Mercedes-Benz with fellow Frenchman Pierre Laleu finishing behind him. His association with the German manufacturer began via his company Transports Groine, who was among the first to provide support services for Rally competitors.

In 1986, Groine founded Team Georges Groine as a Mercedes factory-backed rally raid operation outside of trucks. The team provided Mercedes ML 430s for competition in production categories, with which Jean-Pierre Strugo won titles in the early 2000s.

Groine also worked with the PSA Group, owner of Peugeot and Citroën. His involvement in racing continued through 2007 before stepping away from the sport.

Georges Groine: 19 February 1934 – 30 November 2022