Dakar: Gauloises Racing stage 12 report

In the bikes the late starters took advantage of the slow going at the front, with special victory finally going to Giovanni Sala. Dutch rider Ullevalseter was second (at 0'88) with Stanovnik third (at 1'08). A way behind them, Despres was 7th (at...

In the bikes the late starters took advantage of the slow going at the front, with special victory finally going to Giovanni Sala. Dutch rider Ullevalseter was second (at 0'88) with Stanovnik third (at 1'08). A way behind them, Despres was 7th (at 5'42) with Sainct 11th (at 7'41), Brucy 14th (at 9'01) and Meoni 16th (at 9'40).

There are no changes for the top three overall, with Sainct now leading Despres by 10'48 and Meoni 3rd by 30'00. In the cars it was Peterhansel who won, to increase his lead over the man who finished 2nd on the special, Masuoka, to 24'18, with Fontenay way behind at 2h25'45. If Peterhansel was rejoicing this afternoon, the same could not be said for Team Gauloises Schlesser Ford, who saw their last remaining buggy stop at km 40 of the special with a broken engine. In the trucks it was an equally black day in the trucks for Team Gauloises De Rooy. Starting this morning in the overall lead, and leading the special at CP3 he crashed shortly after at km 152, with the force of the force detaching the cabin from the rest of the vehicle. Miraculously the three crew members escaped with only minor injuries.

Richard Sainct and Cyril Despres.
Photo by Gauloises Racing.

Motorcycles:

Giovanni Sala
"An excellent day. With the tracks in front of me I was able to go quicker than those at the front. I rode with a few other riders and then towards the end I used the power of my V-twin to break away from the group. I'm delighted to win my second special of this Dakar."

Cyril Despres
"For me it was a special for nothing -- like a second rest day. Every day they say it will be difficult and every day I am disappointed. There has been only one day so far on this rallye where we have needed all the water in our camel backs. Sure I've pulled back a few seconds overall but tomorrow, with Richard and Fabrizio starting well behind me, I risk paying a high price. The trouble on this kind of special is that there is nothing you can do. I thought it was slow at the front so I decided to take the lead, but after about 5 km I gave up. There was just no way I could pull away."

Richard Sainct
"I'm not even in the top 10 today! It was impossible to make the break so the special result is to be expected. The important thing for me however is the overall result and that has changed very little. At the moment I am taking it day by day, concentrating on my race and managing my lead."

Fabrizio Meoni
"There were no tracks ahead of us so the rider who was opening had to slow right down. You could have stopped for a coffee and still caught back up with the lead group. It is normal that I lost a few seconds -- those were the rules of the day. I'm hoping for faster terrain tomorrow.

Eric Verhoef
"I fell like I have been out playing for half a day. In my opinion though it was a tricky day. You'd be riding along on what looked like flat ground and suddenly there was a big drop. Most of the big drops had been marked by the organisers with flag which was a very good thing.

Miran Stanovnik
"For me to finish in the top 3 is unbelievable. I really enjoyed the stage -- not too fast, not too slow -- and a little bit of everything -- some nice dunes, some nice descents, a little bit of twisty stuff. At the refuelling I had a little problem with the fuel pipe to the rear tanks and lost 2 or 3 minutes. As a result I lost contact with the group I was riding with and so pushed hard to eventually catch Sala, De Gavardo, Flick and Duclos. At about 30 km from the end Sala broke away and there was nothing we could do to stay with him.

Cars:

Jean Louis Schlesser
"I have spoken to Jose - apparently he is stopped at km 40 with a broken engine and is waiting for his assistance to arrive. At the moment that is all I know. To say I am disappointed would be an understatement."

-gr-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Fabrizio Meoni , Cyril Despres , Richard Sainct , Giovanni Sala , Miran Stanovnik , Eric Verhoef , Jean Louis Schlesser