Dakar: Gauloises Racing final report

As expected, in the bikes overall victory today went to Richard Sainct, 07'18 ahead of Cyril Despres with Fabrizio Meoni 3rd at 37'30. The all blue podium was complimented by the 4th place of Gauloises KTM's water carrier Jean Brucy (at ...

As expected, in the bikes overall victory today went to Richard Sainct, 07'18 ahead of Cyril Despres with Fabrizio Meoni 3rd at 37'30. The all blue podium was complimented by the 4th place of Gauloises KTM's water carrier Jean Brucy (at 1h36'29).

After yesterday's drama there was no change in the cars either, with Masuoka winning on four wheels, ahead of Fontenay (at 1h52'12) and Peterhansel (at 2h16'28). Finally, the trucks also remained static, with Tchaguine beating De Azevedo by 1h02'01 and Kabirov by 1h25'04. De Rooy was fourth at 2h38'49.

Winner Richard Sainct celebrates with Cyril Despres and Fabrizio Meoni.
Photo by Gauloises Racing.

Motorcycles:

Richard Sainct (Gauloises KTM) 1st
"I'm very happy to at last reach the final finish line. For several days now I have been admiring it from afar! Even if this is my 3rd victory it is still a very emotional moment. When you start this race you never know what will happen. You can crash, get lost or run into mechanical difficulties. Fortunately for me everything went very smoothly and I was able to manage the rallye from the front. I don't know if you could say I have found the secret of winning, but I am nevertheless one of only eight different riders to win in 25 years, so I must be doing something right."

Cyril Despres(Gauloises KTM) 2nd
"Today every note on the road book scared me - I was terrified of making a mistake! Now, having finished, I feel an enormous satisfaction. I was so depressed just before Christmas and convinced I wouldn't be fit enough to take the start. I never imagined I'd finish sandwiched between Richard and Fabrizio with their 5 victories between them. I have taken many steps to get here and now there is just one big one left. My second place has given me the motivation to put in the hard worked needed to get right to the top."

Fabrizio Meoni (Gauloises KTM) 3rd
"I wanted to do a good special today but after 6 km my gearbox stuck in 3rd gear and I had to ride the rest of the stage like that. I was frightened of how I would feel standing in third place on the podium but in fact it felt fine. I didn't start riding seriously until I was 40 and never I thought I would win this race twice. Now for me whether I win a 3rd or a 4th Dakar is not so important. The important thing is that I am still enjoying riding and as long as I do, and I'm fit enough to ride at a good level, I will continue."

Jean Brucy (Gauloises KTM) 4th
"At the start of this race there were 10 fast factory riders and I didn't expect that many of them to go out. If you could have guaranteed me 5th place at the start in Marseille I would have accepted it like a shot, so obviously I'm very happy to finish in 4th."

Giovanni Sala (Gauloises KTM) 14th
"I'm happy to be here -- a finish on the Dakar is always fantastic, whatever your position. If I hadn't had so many problems with myself and my bike I could have probably finished higher -- but that is part of the race. It is difficult however for me to come and ride the Dakar. My team mates ride these bikes all year round while I concentrate on enduros. To suddenly switch from a bike that weights 100 kilos to one that weighs 200 is never going to be easy."

Miran Stanovnik (Gauloises KTM) 17th overall -- 2nd Marathon
"They say that second place equals first loser but it doesn't feel like that today. I didn't know until today I was so well placed -- I thought I was 4th or 5th. I'm especially happy to be here today after such a big crash yesterday. Everything hurts and I can only use about 30% of my lung capacity -- any more hurts too much. Despite riding in the marathon class, on a few days in the rallye I had the chance to ride among the top 10. I try and follow their example on the piste but also in life because they are exceptional men."

Eric Verhoef (Gauloises KTM) 18th -- 3rd marathon
"It feels very be good to be here. I had bad luck at the beginning of the rallye with my distress beacon going off. It meant they gave me a later start and after that I never got back among 'my' group of riders. It all makes my 3rd place in the marathon class even sweeter. I have about 50 people who have come out for the end of the rallye and I will be celebrating the finish with them tonight."

Ren? Metge and ?lodie Metge.
Photo by Gauloises Racing.

Cars:

Rene Metge (Gauloises Mercedes) 23rd -- 5th T1
"We had a good race and Elodie navigated very well -- just between you and me I'm surprised by just how well. For a first timer she gets 5 stars. The only thing I regret is that we didn't manage to sort out our suspension until the rest day. Until then I had to be very careful with the car so as not to put it on the roof. After that it was like driving a different machine."

Elodie Metge (Rene Metge's co-driver)
"Everybody told me that it would take 2 or 3 days to find our rhythm but I already had a little experience so in fact it came quickly. I think I was more difficult to be with than my Dad so he should be congratulated for putting up with me. I still haven't digested the fact that I have finished a Dakar -- it will probably take a few days. All I know now is that it was a fantastic experience."

Trucks:

Jan De Rooy (Gauloises De Rooy) 4th
"What can I say? To finish fourth is not so bad -- but not so good. Obviously I am disappointed not to finish on the podium. However we learnt a lot this year and next year we'll be better prepared. Also my son learnt a lot on this Dakar. Next year he will be a much better driver."

-gr-

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Series DAKAR