Change of dÃ©cor today with the rally entering into Mali and the African bush. Fastest over the special was Isidre Esteve (Gauloises KTM) ahead of Goncalves and Czachor. David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) finished 8th with Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM)...
Change of décor today with the rally entering into Mali and the African bush. Fastest over the special was Isidre Esteve (Gauloises KTM) ahead of Goncalves and Czachor. David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) finished 8th with Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) 13th. Team mate Frans Verhoeven (Gauloises KTM) crashed on the special and initial examinations indicate he has dislocated both collarbones. He is currently at the end of the special and will be shortly flown into the bivouac. Apart from that incident no major changes overall, with Coma still leading Despres by 52'48 and Casteu third at 1.10'13. Esteve moves up to 6th (at 2.35'04)
Isidre Esteve (Gauloises KTM) 1st and 6th overall (at 2.35'04)
It was good to win this special -- it has brought a smile back to my face. There was a lot of navigation and you had to take great care with the navigation. Just before the refuelling CP I caught Cyril (Despres) and Marc (Coma) and rode to the finish together -- there was too much dust to take the risk of overtaking."
David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) 8th (at 12'21) 3rd overall (at 1.10'13)
"I arrived first at refuelling and then opened the piste until 30 km to the end when I made a little mistake and let the others through. The navigation wasn't easy and the track was tricky with a lot of ruts and dust. I think Frans (Verhoeven) must have caught out in the dust -- it is a great shame for him to go out just two stages from the end."
Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) 13th (at 15'25) 2nd overall (at 52'48)
"I really enjoyed today's special -- it was fun to ride and the navigation was a real challenge. I was with Marc (Coma) and whenever the one opening the piste made a little mistake he let the other one take the lead. It is a code of respect we have and when you are riding with someone who plays by those rules it is a real pleasure."
"At km 80 we both made the same error. Marc was in the lead, I saw him hesitate and I tried to sneak round by the left hoping he wouldn't see me. In the end we both had to retrace our tracks a little. A pity, because if I'd gone right I could have made a little break. It wouldn't have made a huge impact to the overall results but it keeps you entertained! As it was, everybody grouped up at that point and a few of the riders got a little excited, as they saw the possibility to win the special. It is a great shame Frans (Verhoeven) has crashed out so close to the end because he has ridden very well on this Dakar. I have learnt to appreciate his company, he has helped me a lot and performed his water carrier job really well."
Tomorrow, the second to last 'real' stage, 458 km from Kayes to Tambacounda, with 260 km of special.