Dakar: Gauloises Racing stage eight report

Victory on the special went to Marc Coma ahead of Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM). Ullevalseter finished third with David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) 4th, Eric Verhoeven 5th and Isidre Esteve way back in 38th after running into gearbox problems. Overall...

Victory on the special went to Marc Coma ahead of Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM). Ullevalseter finished third with David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) 4th, Eric Verhoeven 5th and Isidre Esteve way back in 38th after running into gearbox problems. Overall Coma increases his lead with Despres moving up to second (at 54'58), Casteu is third (at 1.03'15), Verhoeven 6th (at 2.08'57) and Esteve 8th (at 2.20'57).

Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) 2nd (at 10'02) 2nd overall (at 54'58)

"Now that is what I call a proper Dakar stage -- a solid eight hours on the bike -- imagine riding from Paris to Marseilles off-road and it will give you an idea of how long it was. Considering, I don't feel too bad. Between km 250 and km 400 we had a sand storm blowing straight into our faces and while I was riding into it, at about km 330, I got the bike well and truly stuck. That was where Marc (Coma) caught me up. After that we rode more or less together. At one point Marc hit a slab of rock covered with a thin layer of sand. I hit it just after him and we both went down right next to each other. I few days ago I was 16th overall, this evening I am second, tomorrow who knows. That's the Dakar. Mitsubishi and VW spend millions and millions and they have gearbox problems -- motor sport is like that. This is a new bike, on its first Dakar, so in a way it is to be expected. In the 6 years I have been with KTM I must have ridden 150,000 kilometres with virtually no mechanical problems -- you have to put it in perspective."

David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) 4th (at 26'22) 3rd overall (at 1.03'15)

"It was a good tough special. At one point I went too far to the left and did a bit of 'gardenin' as we say in the jargon. Isidre and Coma must have gone past me then as I saw their tracks in front of me later on. Then I saw Isidre riding slowly and felt really sorry for me. He had been riding really well. Now we have a marathon stage with limited assistance and I am delighted to say my bike needs virtually nothing doing to it."

F. Verhoeven (Gauloises KTM) 5th (at 29'16) 6th overall (at 2.08'57)

"I made up for all the mistakes I made the other day. Last night I prepared my road book very carefully and as a result had virtually no problems with the navigation. Plus I have ridden a lot in the soft sand in Lommel and at Dunkerque and so felt really good on the bike -- an excellent day for me."

Isidre Esteve (Gauloises KTM) 38th and 8th overall (at 2.20'57)

"The gearbox went at about km 230 and it was a long way from there to the finish line in Tichit! Stuck in first the bike started to get hot, so I would have to slow down and let it cool down again. Although this is a marathon stage, and our mechanics are not here, our rapid assistance will arrive later on this evening and be able to fix the bike -- though obviously I have lost a lot of time..."

Tomorrow another stage, 497 km from Tichit to Nema

-credit: gauloises racing

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Cyril Despres , Marc Coma , David Casteu