Dakar: Gauloises Racing stage 15 report

Despite his huge crash yesterday, by his own admission the biggest of his career, Meoni bounced back to win today's special. Second was the Swedish privateer P G Lundmark, with Spaniard Coma third. Overall however the top 3 remains unchanged...

Despite his huge crash yesterday, by his own admission the biggest of his career, Meoni bounced back to win today's special. Second was the Swedish privateer P G Lundmark, with Spaniard Coma third.

Overall however the top 3 remains unchanged with Sainct leading ahead of Despres (at 10'29) and Meoni 3rd (at 33'58). In the cars Ari Vatanen won his third special of the rallye ahead of Biasion (at 6'23) and De Villiers (at 12'49). As expected however there is no change overall with Peterhansel 1st , Masuoka 2nd (at 25'50) and Fontenay 3rd (at 2h23'47). In the trucks the overall postions also look unlikely to change, with Kabirov winning the special to strengthen his hold on the third place, to the detrement of De Rooy. Second on the special was Tchaguine (at 13'57) and De Azevedo 3rd (at 15'23). Overall Tchaguine leads by 1h12'27 over the second placed truck of De Azevedo.

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

Motorcycles:

Fabrizio Meoni 1st in 4h42'25
"I didn't ride as hard as I rode yesterday up until my crash, but I rode fast nonetheless -- my pride won't let me do otherwise. The day after the crash you never know how you are going to feel on the bike and I was a little apprehensive when I started. In fact I suffered less than I thought I would. The pain from my left foot meant that I couldn't push down on the footpeg as much as I would have liked -- it made controlling the bike a little difficult at times -- but apart from that no problems. KTM rebuilt my bike overnight and this morning it was perfect. The special without GPS was ok but I didn't like the terrain and spent a lot of time in other riders' dust."

Cyril Despres 4th at 4'32
"It was a good special -- quite tough -- for once Zaniroli wasn't winding us up. The fact that we had to ride it without GPS definitely made it more interesting -- there were a lot of changes of direction. I think it could be the way to go for the future -- something that ASO should look at very closely. It wasn't however the kind of special where I could attack and try and challenge for the lead -- especially as my shoulder muscles felt quite tight. With just one real special left I am starting to reconcile myself to second place. Now I am going to sleep, as we have to get up later and start riding the liaison early tomorrow morning. Fortunately I have the ability to go to sleep any place, any time. If there was a competition for that I would definitely take the top spot on the podium!"

Richard Sainct 5th at 5'23
"I started before the others and didn't see anybody else all day -- and that suited me just fine. Plus the special was nice to ride -- the second good special of this rallye. Hopefully we'll have another like that tomorrow. Although I was only 5th overall everything is perfectly under control. My direct rivals didn't make any ground on me and so I had no reason to go any faster. My mission is not to make any mistakes, to concentrate on my navigation and my riding."

Jean Brucy 6th at 6'50
"An average day for me -- I rode badly. I was a little bit stiff after my crash yesterday and never managed to find my rhythm -- I didn't take the corners right and often ran wide. You could say that today I rode the bike rather pilot it."

Miran Stanovnik 11th at 18'59
"I expected to be in more pain today and so started gently this morning. However the massage I got from KTM's physiotherapist last night and the pain killers I took did the trick and everything went OK. After about 160 kms my GPS broke and so I didn't have any CAP (there was no GPS points today) but I had no problem following the road book."

Eric Verhoef 23rd at 53'33
"I rode steadily today but enjoyed riding without GPS. In my opinion every stage should be like that. It means you focus on the road book and ride more slowly. It also gives the rider who is good at navigation more of a chance. Towards the end I got overtaken by a car -- the second time that has happened to me on this rallye. Once that has happened to you your stage is over."

Cars:

Rene Metge (Gauloises Mercedes) 26th 1h15'23
"We were stuck in the dust for the first 150 km and after that we were all on our own. The scenery was good today but it was quite bumpy. Despite that we had no problems, apart from a broken exhaust pipe that meant we were a little down on power. Overall we increased our lead on our rival for 4th place in the T1 class, Asaga, and barring a major upset that should be our final finishing position."

Trucks:

Jan De Rooy (Gauloises De Rooy) 4th at 16'26
"Nothing happened today -- not even a broken shock absorber. Finishing 4th today meant we lost more time on Kabirov and now I don't think there is anything we can do to get on the podium. Looking back on the rallye it is clear that if we hadn't had so many problems with our shock absorbers it might have been a very different story. In total they cost us 3 hours and now we are 2h41 down overall. On the positive side we know what we need to do next year."

-gr-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Ari Vatanen , Jean Brucy , Fabrizio Meoni , Cyril Despres , Richard Sainct , René Metge , Miran Stanovnik , Eric Verhoef