The second part of the marathon stage was interesting and confusing. Heavy rain canceled the first part of the two specials on the eighth day of Dakar. See what the drivers and riders had to say...
009 - Olivier PAIN "A terribly difficult day. Well, difficult, it's rather that we made a mistake. I was thinking that I had to stay focused and, right on cue, I made a mistake. I don't understand, everything seemed fine. Chaleco went into a valley a bit too early. He came back just in front of me. We were doing well. And then, I don't know. We should have turned a bit more to the right but it was difficult with the rain. That's the way it is. I was the big loser. Of course, I knew it wasn't all wrapped up yet; but there will be further surprises during the second week. The aim is not to get hurt and to make it to Santiago. But there's still much to go..."
001 - Cyril DESPRES “At any rate, I've put my bad day behind me! It was yesterday, when my fifth gear broke down in what was a fast special. I lost time, but I was nevertheless lucky because my friend Marek Dabrowski gave me his engine and took mine yesterday evening at the marathon bivouac... So today I was able to ride normally, and I could have pulled off a big coup today, because I almost took the right trail at the entrance of the río, but all the tracks went left, so in the end I followed them and came upon everyone riding around at sixes and sevens and looking at each other. When this happens, I only look at my road book and the landscape... I didn't see some riders break away and I had to make a U-turn 500 m from the right trail, but that's the way it is... There are good days, less good days and great days, and I'm waiting for a great day!”
010 - David CASTEU “A huge navigational success! I'm over the moon because it's difficult to ride at the front while attacking and keeping your bearings, navigating... I was able to keep my cool while everyone else was spinning around, but I stayed focused and was the first across the line... And leading the Dakar during the rest day, that's terrific!”
277 - Sarel VAN BILJON “A complicated special which was difficult in the sandy part at the beginning, where we had a nice duel with Marcos Patronelli, but I eventually opened a gap following a navigational mistake on his part... and then I went flat out until the finish. I don't know if I clawed back a lot of time and I'm far in the overall, but it's my first Dakar, so I don't calculate my efforts anyway; I just attack as much as I can and enjoy the race.”
250 - Marcos PATRONELLI "It was a really long and tough stage. The quad was a bit damaged after this mammoth stage. The special was difficult and quite tricky, with loads of cobbles, stones and dry riverbeds. And then we were hit by a storm. But I'm delighted, happy I made it to the finish. The quad doesn't miss a beat and I'd like to thank Yamaha and the entire team."
313 - Orlando TERRANOVA "It wasn't a bad day but the stage was extremely tough. The conditions made everything difficult. It was a fight, a race against water. We managed to cope with it. We almost had a flat tyre but we lucked out. On the downside, Peter lost time. Let's hope the water made the others lose time as well and the team continues to do well."
302 - Stéphane PETERHANSEL “My first big mistake since the start of the rally, I insisted on following the motorcycle tracks but it was the wrong direction. Jean-Paul pressured me to look for a way out of the riverbed, but I continued for 2.5 km before retracing my steps, which means I'd gone 5 km too far and lost almost 9 minutes, as Terranova was going by when I came out... Well, that's the way it is... Nasser will probably take advantage of this, but that's racing... Having said that, one of the riverbeds was quite full when we went by and apparently they wanted to neutralise the stage at CP2. This wouldn't be bad news for me, as it would neutralise our navigational mistake and we'd only concede the time lost head-to-head on the course... We'll see...”
315 - Robby GORDON “It really was a terrific day for us because we stayed at the front of the race throughout the special, despite a flat tyre at the start of the stage for which I am to blame. We may have lost some time, but it was nevertheless a fantastic day overall.”
300 - Nasser AL-ATTIYAH “Everything was going smoothly for us, we were putting the pedal on the metal, and everything was fine. When we got to the río, there were three metres of water, there was no way we could cross that. So we called the organisers, who told us the stage had been neutralised at CP2.”
301 - Giniel DE VILLIERS “It was quite a challenging stage! We didn't get stuck in the water. We simply couldn't cross, it was over 1.50 m deep and we saw the water flowing down towards us.”
309 - Guerlain CHICHERIT “We really gave it our all because we'd had our fair share of bad luck in the previous specials and lost the scratch by a hair's breadth, so, starting second on the course, I'd decided to attack big time. This morning, I said to Jean-Pierre [Garcin]: "Fasten your seatbelt, 'cause we're going on the attack!" And it paid off. Great! Jean-Pierre did a fantastic job because there was a devilishly tricky part where we were at the front after overtaking Peterhansel. But he easily found the right way, I'm delighted!”