Dakar: Gauloises Racing final report

In the bikes the final special might have seen no changes overall, but there was still plenty of emotion on the podium and drama for Richard Sainct on the going. The special was won by Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM France) first (in 14'49) ahead...

In the bikes the final special might have seen no changes overall, but there was still plenty of emotion on the podium and drama for Richard Sainct on the going. The special was won by Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM France) first (in 14'49) ahead of 'pot hunters' Ullevalseter and P G Lundmark.

Overall Nani Roma took his first victory, after nine attempts, with Richard Sainct (Gauloises KTM France) second (at 12'38), Despres third (at 44'31), Alfie Cox (Gauloises KTM International) fourth (at 49'06) with Fabrizio Meoni (Gauloises KTM International) sixth (at 3h05'57). In the cars today's win went to Colin McRae, with Jose Maria Servia (Gauloises Schlesser Buggy) second (at 0'41) and Al Attiyah third (at 0'43). As in the bikes, no changes overall, with Peterhansel taking his first victory on four wheels ahead of Masuoka (at 49'24) and Jean Louis Schlesser (Gauloises Schlesser Buggy) third (at 3h00'33). In the trucks Stacey won the special ahead of Bekx (at 0'37) with De Azevedo third (at 1'18). Overall Tchaguine was victorious 53'38 ahead of Kabirov with Gerardus De Rooy (Gauloises De Rooy) third (at 1h28'28).

BIKES

Richard Sainct (Gauloises KTM France) 47th (at 9'53) 2nd overall (at 12'38)

"Half way through the special the bike stopped dead. For 10 minutes I looked everywhere for the problem before I finally found a lose wire on the CDI unit. For a while there I really thought I wasn't going to make it to the final finish line -- as they say 'it isn't ever over until you are on the podium'. Concerning the race I can't say I am disappointed -- given how I started, with my crash on the first stage in Morocco, I am relieved to be here at all. More importantly my desire to win is as strong as ever and I think that I showed with this year's performance that I am still capable of doing so."

Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM France) 1st (in 14'49) 3rd overall (at 44'31)

"Right up until the end I was still having difficulty 'digesting' my two big mistakes, but once I was up on the podium, I forgot all about them. I learnt an enormous amount this year and towards the end was able to put what I learnt to good use by following my instincts rather than other people or their tyre tracks. I will keep learning and keep riding until one day I get to where Nani is standing today."

Alfie Cox (Gauloises KTM International) 9th (at 1'36) 4th overall (at 49'06)

"I have to admit I am disappointed not to be on the podium, but at the same time I am relieved to be here in Dakar in one piece. It was an extremely tough race -- Patrick Zaniroli certainly knows how to wear us down!" "I have finished 4th, 3rd and 2nd on this Dakar and every year I learn something that makes me stronger. You know we don't earn a fortune doing this race -- if I keep coming back here it isn't for the money, it is because that I believe that with a bit of luck I can win. As long as I think I that I'll keep turning up."

Miran Stanovnik (Gauloises KTM Privateer) 12th (at 1'57) 15th overall (at 8h15'53)

"My final result could have been better but I am nevertheless very happy to finish in 15th place because there was four of us fighting for it very hard. I haven't had a chance to look in the mirror for a few days so I have forgotten about my eye. The important thing was not to look beautiful but to be operational!"

Mame Less Diallo (Gauloises KTM Privateer) 29th (at 4'37) 45th overall (at 32h18'43)

"I'm relieved to be here because this was a very hard Dakar. I'm delighted to be here because ever since we crossed the Straits of Gibraltar African TV has been following me and African people have been behind me."

CARS

Jean Louis Schlesser (Gauloises Schlesser Buggy) 6th (at 1'09) 3rd overall (at 3h00'35)

"I am very proud that as a team we have managed to get all our vehicles to Dakar -- and not just any old Dakar either but one of the best ever. It was good in terms of the route but also in terms of the welcome we received everywhere we went. In the 16 Dakars I have raced I have never seen such enthusiasm.

"As far as my own result is concerned, I think that given the competition it was the best I could have hoped for. The two Mitsubishis were untouchable and there are a lot of factory cars behind me. It is also a source of pride for me that we got here with so little problems. In that respect the fact that I destroyed the new car I had originally intended to enter, just 3 weeks before the start, was perhaps a blessing in disguise. Given how fast the Mitsubishis were I wouldn't have been able to beat them, even with the new buggy, but at least with the 'old car' I enjoyed exceptional reliability.

"For the future I think the federation has to look at the rules again, and quickly because if they wait too long it will be too late to react. For a small team to be able to fight against the big factories a buggy is the only solution, but at the moment we are too handicapped."

Thierry De Lavergne (Gauloises Senegal) 20th (at 4'29) 12th overall (at 15h52'01)

"This was the most difficult Dakar in which I have ever competed -- and Patrick Zaniroli can take that as a compliment. But to race at this level with a traditional type car is being becoming very complicated. I am therefore extremely happy to be here on the podium for Nissan, my sponsors and for Senegal."

TRUCKS

Gerardus De Rooy (Gauloises De Rooy) 8th (at 2'33) 3rd overall (at 1h28'28)

"I think to finish third on only our second ever Dakar is a fine achievement. We have many years of racing ahead of us and lots of things still to learn -- we can only get stronger."

-gr-

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Series DAKAR