Dakar: Gauloises Racing stage 16 report

In the bikes victory went to Richard Sainct (Gauloises KTM) 2’05 ahead of Roma, with Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) third (at 2’24) and Alfie Cox (Gauloises KTM) fourth (at 4’40). No changes overall, with Roma now a ‘comfortable’ 5’02...

In the bikes victory went to Richard Sainct (Gauloises KTM) 2’05 ahead of Roma, with Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) third (at 2’24) and Alfie Cox (Gauloises KTM) fourth (at 4’40). No changes overall, with Roma now a ‘comfortable’ 5’02 ahead of Sainct going into the last short 27 km special, Despres third (at 46’48) and Cox fourth (at 49’74).

In the cars it is Jutta Kleinschmidt who wins ahead of Alphand (at 0’59) and Masuoka third (at 1’24). Jose Marie Servia (Gauloises Schlesser Buggy) was 5th (at 2’41) with team mate Jean Louis Schlesser 11th (at 14’25). Overall no changes in the car class either with Peterhansel leading Masuoka by 51’23 and Schlesser third (at 3h03’47). The leader of the T1 class yesterday morning, Jean Pierre Strugo (Gauloises Mercedes) failed to take the start this morning from Nouakchott after breaking down on the Tidjikja – Nouakchott special yesterday.

Richard Sainct (Gauloises KTM France)
1st (in 2h21’48) 2nd overall (at 5’02)
“It was a good special and I did everything I could to make the break. Unfortunately Nani caught me up and once he was in my slipstream it was impossible to shake him off. Now honestly I can’t see how I can take the top spot. Obviously I’m disappointed but at the same time, given the crash I had at the beginning of the race, I think I can be proud of my performance. After the doctors had examined me no one would have taken bets on me starting the next day let alone finishing on the podium.”

Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM France)
3rd (at 2’24) 3rd overall (at 46’48)
“The only thing I could do today was make sure that I held on to my lead over Alfie (Cox) and I’m happy I managed to achieve it. I caught him at around km 40 and then sure I did my own navigation to the finish line. My two mistakes at the start of the rallye cost me 1 hour 30 minutes but at least over the last few days I have proved that I have learnt my lesson by following my own instincts.”

Alfie Cox (Gauloises KTM International)
4th (at 4’40) 4th overall (at 49’47)
“They said it would be easy today but it was like a Dutch moto-x race. I don’t know exactly when Cyril caught me but there were helicopters hovering over me so I knew there was trouble coming. In the end he got past at about km 140 and I could do anything to hold him off – he’s really good over that kind of going.”

Fabrizio Meoni (Gauloises KTM International)
5th (at 5’51) 6th overall (at 3h07’24)
“To arrive in Dakar for what will probably be my last time was an emotional experience. I will have to sit down with KTM and my sponsors to talk about the future but in my mind I have already made my decision.”

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Jutta Kleinschmidt , Fabrizio Meoni , Cyril Despres , Alfie Cox , Richard Sainct , Jean Louis Schlesser