Chile/Argentina: Stage 7 – Calama to Salta quotes

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It has been a tough day for the Dakar competitors but the first part of the marathon stage is over and here are the comments from the drivers and riders.

Bike

029 - KURT CASELLI “It's good, I mean, today was easy. It was just roads, there was no off-track or anything – pretty easy to follow. Ruben and I had to stop a little bit for Cyril. I don't know why, he had some problems with something. I waited for him but he told me to keep going, so we've come here and hopefully we can figure it out tonight for the marathon stage. Everything for me was fine. I'm learning the navigation better and I can understand it. This is my first Dakar so I'm just learning a lot. I didn't have any idea what to expect when I first came here. It's fun and I'm enjoying it. The race is great and the people are too. I'm having a good time.”

#9 Yamaha: Olivier Pain
#9 Yamaha: Olivier Pain

Photo by: Yamaha Team

009 - Olivier PAIN “It's sure that with Cyril's problems that gives me a significant gap for the lead, and that's a good thing for me. That's just part of racing, but I'm not forgetting that it could happen to me too, so I'm not getting cocky about it, especially since Cyril has the capacity to claw back the time he's lost... So, I'm not getting ahead of myself, I'm just going to carry on like this without taking risks and enjoying myself. Today I just concentrated on my own race. With the injection system, I knew our bike wouldn't suffer too much from the altitude, so it's all been fine... I'm still in the lead, so overall it's been a good day.”

007 - Francisco LOPEZ “Very, very fast; an incredible sprint. It was very fast at the start and finish. There was no difficult navigation. It was perfect, a very good day. I think it's a good position for tomorrow, for the marathon. Now I'll work on my motorcycle, but there are no problems. I'm very happy with today.”

015 - Frans VERHOEVEN “I attacked flat out from the start today, because the Yamaha, thanks to the adjustable injection system, doesn't suffer power loss at high altitudes. I soon caught up with Esquerre and Despres who let me past without any problems, which was very fair-play, what with all the dust and wind. After that, I carried on attacking and riding fist up to the finish.”

Quad

277 - Sarel VAN BILJON “It was tight and it was very dusty and it was long and it was fast. It was a tight battle between the first three. I tried to catch Patronelli. We caught up with Casale, and from there on it was just one hell of a battle to keep in front of each other. The dust was so dense and there was no space to overtake. Now it's finished, another day in the pocket. I enjoyed it and now we go to the bivouac.”

250 - Marcos PATRONELLI “It was a very quick and short stage, one where we could go flat out because the tracks were good. After 120 km, about half way through, the tracks were narrower and rockier, so it was a bit more difficult. It's a major step forwards, because we'll soon have the marathon stage out of the way.”

Car

309 - Guerlain CHICHERIT “The stage was really good for us. It was not too tricky and not too rocky, so it was good for my arm which was not too bad. The track was really, really, really fast, so I think it was a good stage for our car. We just had some dust from the other cars, it was really difficult to overtake the other cars because the dust was really heavy. But at the end we were really, really happy. The car worked well all day long, so tonight I'm smiling, it's good.”

300 - Nasser AL-ATTIYAH “It was a very difficult stage, it was not for our car. But okay, we lost one minute fifty-six I think to Peter, but it's not a problem. Today it was really fast and very narrow and technical. But we did a good job and we are here now, 7 days in, with the car working very well.”

302 - Stéphane PETERHANSEL “It was a very long link stage at more than 4,000 metres above sea level. We even went over 4,800 and started to feel the fatigue and headaches that can happen in that situation. But then we got stuck into the special, just 218 kilometres and I have to admit that for the first 130 km, we were flat out. There was nothing to do, just 15 or 30 bends and we were driving at 150 kmph on average. After that, the last 90 km were interesting, rather twisty with some rocks, but very technical, so we were able to enjoy ourselves and gain a few seconds more over Nasser (Al Attiyah).”

315 - Robby GORDON “Today was a good special for us. Obviously we didn't win the special but we finished second, which is a good thing. I'm still mad at myself from day four. If we hadn't done that, we'd be third place in the rally right now. The first couple of mistakes could have been enough, but the last one was kind of the one that twisted the sword that was inside of us.”

Truck

500 - Gerard DE ROOY “These stupid buggies, they don't let me past. I'd been pushing them for a long time and they didn't let me past. In a fast section they passed me, but then in a bad section, they're too slow. Today was all about losing. You could lose a lot of time. It was very tricky with the stones so we had to drive carefully. But the first section was very boring, it was flat out, 130 kmph. For the first hour we did 134 kmph as an average speed. Yeah, that's nothing; it's boring.”

503 - Ales LOPRAIS “It was not a good stage for the Tatra, especially because the Tatra likes dirty terrain, really hard terrain, but not the speedy section. But finally, we did a nice time and I'm surprised. Sometimes I enjoyed it. We almost lost a wheel, but it was nice and sliding.”

ASO DAKAR

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About this article
Series DAKAR
Article type Interview
Tags al-attiyah, aso, caselli, chicherit, dakar, de rooy, gordon, lopez, loprais, pain, patronelli, peterhansel, van biljon, verhoeven