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Adela Pirvulescu
Adela Pirvulescu
Adrian Dancu
Adrian Dancu

In this edition of Nagarrians at Play, we present Adrian Dancu, a Technical Community Lead at Nagarro and a passionate rally driver.

Let’s discover how Adrian is steering his way through the fast lanes of both the tech world and the rally circuit.


Hello Adrian. What a cool hobby! When did your motorsport adventure begin, and what initially drew you to rally driving?

Adrian: I guess I was always drawn to motorsport but never really had the chance to explore it the proper way. But there were signs. For example, in the 8th grade, a few friends and I restored an old 2-stroke go-kart as part of an after-school activity. After fixing the clutch, I started “drifting” in the schoolyard (and managed to get my friends and myself in a bit of trouble). Looking back, it was probably the most obvious indicator of this passion.

The ‘real’ adventure began in 2017 when I met some passionate Dacia Duster people who were competing in the Romanian Rally Raid events (aka Cross-Country Rally), and I entered my first race as a co-driver (I was already 35 years old at the time). Since then, it’s been an interesting on-and-off series of events that have turned me, one event after the other, into an incurable motorsport addict.

Why a rally? I like the rush, the unpredictability, and the spontaneous elements of a competition. Rally Raid (or Cross-Country Rally) is a fast-paced discipline, but it’s an endurance sport – the races are at a minimum of 350 km per day. So, basically, we are in the race car for almost 8 hours per day, sometimes from dawn till dusk, and the track is unknown. Navigation is a 100% spontaneous activity using only the road book provided by the organizer, a geo-trip meter (basically a fancy odometer), and sometimes a compass to have a bearing where the road is not visible (sand, grass, etc.).

But the results of this sort of racing are uncertain till the very end, as anything can happen at any time during the span of 350 km.

Adrian Dancu at RallyRaidAdrian Dancu at Rally Raid


How do you see this choice reflecting your personal values and ambitions?

Motorsport is, first of all, a sport – and this requires ethics, knowing the rules and respecting them, and, of course, the competition (fighting with other skilled individuals). But in order to win, you must first make the effort to participate, and then you must actually finish the race (easier said than done). You need to be confident but also careful and calculated. It’s a mixture of skills and lessons learned that make you a better person overall.


Rally driving demands a lot of dedication and perseverance. How do you think these qualities translate to your professional career?

Keeping calm under stress and quickly troubleshooting situations is mandatory. And NEVER GIVE UP – you must finish. Even if you are the last one to go, just finish to score points, if possible, and do whatever it takes to avoid that unwanted DNF (did not finish) result. Endurance racing means a ‘bunny vs. turtle’ race may end up with shocking results. There’s also fair play, and we help colleagues in need (it’s a very lonely sport; there are not many spectators spread over the 350 km).

For example, we broke a suspension part at about 150kms in a 350 km race. We used a tie-down rope to secure the wheel hub assembly and continued until the finish line.

I’m sure it’s the same in any sport (especially endurance sports, like marathons). You need to find the one for you and really commit to it.

Adrian Dancu navigating a rough terrainNavigating a rough terrain


In the fast-paced environment of rally driving, teamwork, and communication are essential. How do you incorporate these aspects in this sport?

Teamwork in Rally Raid means you need to place 100% trust in your teammate. Never accuse them when they make a mistake. Inspire trust so they can tell you when they need help. Focus on your tasks and perform at your best, even when extremely tired. Understand when your teammate is tired and use encouragement or other small tricks to keep them focused even when exhausted. De-prioritize everything except re-instating calm and focus even when things go wrong. And leave your ego outside the car door!


It sounds like a very exciting and rewarding hobby. Can you share with us a specific experience from your rally driving career that taught you an important lesson applicable in life?

It’s hard to pick just one, but it's good to always trust your gut (not only expert opinions and calculations) and at least take preemptive measures to rule out the scenarios that don’t feel right. Once, we lost 1st place at an event because of a broken suspension part: the left-side one was broken, and we should have replaced the right-side one, too, although it did not show signs of wear or other issues. The right-side suspension failed after one more race, and we could have prevented that. I had a feeling, but I did not trust my gut. Even though we were on a tight budget, we should have replaced both. But I guess the biggest lesson I learned throughout motorsport is to recognize and eliminate our preconceptions.

People (and life itself) have a way of always leaving you a bit surprised 😊 that’s the whole charm of life, I guess.

Adrian Dancu fixing up his wheels at the Rally RaidAdrian Dancu fixing up his wheels at the Rally Raid


I understand your wife shares your passion for rally driving, and you both compete together. How do these dynamics contribute to your shared success as a family?

The same principles apply in a rally team in marriage as well – setting goals properly (for each event), learning to trust each other even in extremely harsh situations, and supporting and never blaming each other for mistakes. Basically, a rally race is the ultimate test for a marriage.😃 We both are learning a lot from motorsport and trying to apply these lessons in everyday life (family, professional, etc.). But most of all, it’s the gratitude of sharing this important part of life.

Adrian Dancu and his wife displaying their medals and awardsAdrian Dancu and his wife displaying their medals and awards


What big competitions do you dream of participating in? Would you consider Dakar in the list? 😊

They say that The Dakar rally is the toughest rally in the world ever! Any cross-country rally driver or co-driver dreams of it, I think. Dakar is doable, but it’s extremely expensive, and I think I would need to put a lot on hold to focus on it and also put a lot of time into preparations (I’d say you need to plan a few years ahead). I would settle for any other world-level or even European-level competition as the ‘more easily achievable’ dream.

Some events are more accessible (money and logistics wise), such as the Budapest-Bamako Rally, which gets you a taste of the desert in a less competitive atmosphere, focusing on the overall experience and challenges, and probably the Fenix Rally in Tunisia, or even better the Africa Eco Race which is on the old tracks of the original Paris-Dakar race, finishing in Senegal on the Rose Lake shores. So, I’d start with these first anyway.😊

But in the end, right now, for me, this is a hobby (a really passionate one). And I would like to keep it that way.


Do you have a role model in motorsport, and why do you admire them?

I guess I tried to understand the bio of all big motorsport people, and I think there are lessons to be learned from each. I read a lot about each great name in the sport. I love motorsport trivia. But then again, there are so many ways to find cool stuff that I guess it’s impossible not to stumble upon great motorsport stories. Just open Netflix (or any other big streaming platform) and admire how different Nicky Lauda & rival James Hunt were (in Rush), Ayrton Senna’s passion (in the bio-documentary Senna), Carol Shelby’s commitment (in Ford vs Ferrari), and so many others.

But the all-time motorsport personality, in my opinion, might just be Michelle Mouton. She was a female driver in the most brutal ever category of the 80’s rally, the Group B cars, which were insane. She was the top leading driver for a few seasons, but she is now a FIA ambassador for women in motorsport and, hopefully, a role model for any girl or woman out there.

Adrian Dancu at a rally racePrepping up before taking to the tracks


What do you consider to be the most important moments since you started competing? How have these moments shaped your approach to challenges in both your personal and professional life?

In only a few years in motorsport, I learned a lot of valuable lessons first-hand (sometimes the hard way). I’ll try to give you a few (there are so many that it’s hard to pick only a few).

In 2018, I started competing in the Romanian National Rally Raid Championship as a driver, with my best friend as a co-driver, in the Promo (Hobby)  category, with my family car (a Dacia Duster 4wd 1.6l petrol n/a) and my wife also competed in a game at one of these events. We got 3rd place in the Promo category.

Now, what did I learn?

"Stop talking – just show ’em."

Until you get a person in the race car, it doesn’t matter how passionately they talk about it or how well you think you describe it. Words are meaningless compared to the experience.

"If you want to go fast, go alone – if you want to go far, go together."

The year 2019 was a break time (that’s when our sweet little boy was born), so I gave the race car to my mechanic and my co-driver so that they could race it that season. This led to us co-creating our sports team, Echipa 13, which translates to Team 13, and yes, the 13 is for good luck… sometimes.😃

"Check your priorities. If you need to sacrifice something, make sure it’s worth the sacrifice."

In 2020, we got 3rd place again (with a different friend as the co-driver) in the same category, with a Dacia Duster 4wd 1.5 turbo-diesel. But right before the first race day, I pulled an all-nighter for work (for something that was eventually scrapped). Being extremely tired, I lost focus after the first day on our liaison (on a public road) and crashed the car, ending the event with DNF. 😊

Life will never seize to surprise you… and you never actually know where it will take you.

2021 was the year I managed to trash the former competition Duster in a road accident completely. So, I tried out the asphalt racetrack with a budget-modified Renault Clio RS (a 2.0l petrol n/a 190HP 930kg pocket rocket that I bought for the price of the Duster wreckage) 😃

"You can never escape what you really are, and the second time around it’s more impressive."

In 2022 I came back to Rally Raid together with my wife as a co-driver with a ‘new’ (2012 manufactured but but 350.000 kms old) Dacia Duster 4wd 1.5 turbo-diesel, eventually winning the 2nd place in 2023 in the Rally 2 (semi-pro) category. This was probably the biggest achievement so far, as nobody expected us to achieve this with a low-budget car like our Duster.

Now, in 2024, we go back to the Promo (hobby) category, where my wife will be driving, and I will do the navigation. 😃

Raid rally racer with his carPosing for a quick photo

Check out Adrian Dancu’s Facebook account to get more insights about his rally driver adventures.

NagarriansAtPlay is a series that showcases Nagarrians following their passions. In this series, we bring to you some of our remarkable colleagues who have made it big globally, in their respective fields, and have inspired many to follow their dreams.

Adela Pirvulescu
Adela Pirvulescu
Adrian Dancu
Adrian Dancu