Dakar: Gauloises Racing stage eight report

In the bikes it was the 'Day of the Water Carriers' today with Sala and Brucy coming from behind to finish 1st and 2nd respectively. Third was Despres with Meoni 6th and Sainct 7th. Overall it is Gauloises KTM rider Fabrizio Meoni who takes the...

In the bikes it was the 'Day of the Water Carriers' today with Sala and Brucy coming from behind to finish 1st and 2nd respectively. Third was Despres with Meoni 6th and Sainct 7th.

Overall it is Gauloises KTM rider Fabrizio Meoni who takes the lead from Sainct (at 0'34) with Roma 3rd (at 2'07) and Despres 4th (at 4'51). Sadly today also saw South African Alfie Cox forced to pull out with a dislocated shoulder. Although he has not yet arrived at the bivouac it appears that he got lost early on in the special and crashed trying to catch up with the leaders. In the cars the duel between Masuoka and Peterhansel went in favour of the Japanese driver who won by 5'42. A result largely overshadowed by the serious accident of Shinozuka and Delli-Zotti. Latest information from the organisers is that Kenjiro Shinozuka's is suffering from 'serious injuries with facial trauma' while Thierry Delli-Zotti is in a 'satisfactory state'. In the trucks victory went to Tchaguine 8'16 ahead of De Rooy Junior with De Rooy Senior 3rd at 13'37. Overall Tchaguine leads Gerardus De Rooy by just 0'32 with De Azevedo 3rd at 47'34.

Riding into the sunset.
Photo by Gauloises Racing.

Motorcycles:

Giovanni Sala (Gauloises KTM) 1st in 4h34'45
"I'm delighted to win my first special on this 25th Dakar. In the beginning there was a lot of dust and I didn't want to take any risks. After that we got on to some harder packed sand and I was able to open the big V-twin up. Eventually I got Jean (Brucy) and took the special. Today was a day for the twin - I am getting to know it better. In the beginning I was a little nervous to ride the bike hard as I didn't know how it would react. Now I am starting to get the measure of the it."

Jean Brucy (Gauloises KTM) 2nd at 2'06
"I'm happy with the result -- and a little surprised. Looking at the terrain as I was riding along I thought 'this is perfect for the LC8s, they will pull out at least two minutes on the monos today'. Happily that wasn't the case. I think the riders up front must have been marking each other. Plus of course Sala and myself had their tracks to follow."

Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) 3rd at 3'39
"It has been a pretty hard couple of days but at least this morning the scenery was alsolutely beautiful. Sometimes at the evening briefing Patrick Zaniroli says it will be fanatastic and it turns out to be pretty ordinary. But last night when he said it would be one of the most beautiful specials of any Dakar he wasn't exaggerating."

Fabrizio Meoni (Gauloises KTM) 6th at 6'59
"If this was Sharm El Shiek and I had a 0'34 overall lead I would be very excited. Here at the beginning of the rallye I know it isn't important. What is important at the moment is that I am in the lead group and am feeling fine."

Richard Sainct (Gauloises KTM) 7th at 9'20
"The first 90 km were absolutely breath-taking -- unfortunately though there were no dunes. We weren't however the first people to discover those first 90 kms and there were a lot of tracks made by tourists - it made navigation a little bit complicated. Towards the end it was very rapid and the V-twins were really flying. I managed to stay with them -- but only just. Looking at the days ahead and looking at how fast the LC8s went I can't help being a little bit concerned."

Miran Stanovnik (KTM) 15th at 34'42
"An excellent day. I started in 63rd position this morning because I missed a CP yesterday and got 2 hours of penalties. It meant that early on there was a lot of dust. I overtook a lot of bikes to get through it -- at least 40 -- and after that it was great -- very beautiful."

Eric Verhoef (KTM) 21st at 1h02'38
"In all my 8 Dakars I have never seem such beautiful scenery. I think I maybe looked around too much 'cos my time wasn't that good. I saw Alfie sitting next to his bike by the side of the piste. He made a thumbs down sign as I went past but looked OK so I thought maybe he had mechanical problems."

Cars:

Jean Louis Schlesser
"Servia went well, although he got a little bit lost for a while. As planned he drove steadily to finish 13th on the special and 10th overall. The car is perfect -- no problems."

Trucks:

Tom Colsoul (co-driver for Gerardus De Rooy) 2nd at 8'16
"Not such an easy day today. We were promised sand but for the first 70 km there was nothing but stones -- which is good for the Kamaz but not good for us. About 10 or 20 km into the special we started to hear a banging noise. We hoped it might go away but finally at 180 km we stopped and had a good look. Despite crawling all over the truck we couldn't find anything and so decided to carry on -- but not at 100%. Then we came across Shinozuka's and Delli-Zotti's accident and that slowed us down even more. Then in the last dunes we narrowly missed running over a motorcycle rider who had fallen just after the crest. That really scared us -- and him too no doubt! He made a sign to say he was OK but we stopped anyway and ran back to him just to check. By the time we got to him he'd put his helmet on the crest to warn other drivers so he must have fallen just before we arrived. In all we must have lost 10 minutes which means we could have won the day. These have been two hard days for the trucks but the further we get into this rallye more convinced we become that we can finish well -- something we hadn't even considered before the start."

-gr-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Thierry Delli-Zotti , Jean Brucy , Fabrizio Meoni , Cyril Despres , Alfie Cox , Richard Sainct , Giovanni Sala , Tom Colsoul , Miran Stanovnik , Eric Verhoef , Jean Louis Schlesser