Dakar: Gauloises Racing stage five report

In bikes victory today went to Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) ahead of Marc Coma and the piste opener Isidre Esteve (Gauloises KTM). David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) was 7th (at 11'03) with the team's other water carrier Michel Gau (Gauloises KTM) 14th...

In bikes victory today went to Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) ahead of Marc Coma and the piste opener Isidre Esteve (Gauloises KTM). David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) was 7th (at 11'03) with the team's other water carrier Michel Gau (Gauloises KTM) 14th (at 30'07). Overall Coma holds the lead 1'25 in front of Despres, with Esteve third at 6'28.

Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) 1st (in 3.47'40) 2nd overall (at 1'25)
"I started fourth this morning behind De Gavardo. There was a lot of dust which made overtaking extremely difficult, but fortunately for me Carlos missed a hidden waypoint at km 50 and had to turn back to get it. By that time Isidre and Coma had pulled out a bit of a gap and I had to get on the gas to catch them up. Then crossing a chott my speed limit alarm packed up -- it made a strangled sound and went dead -- and after that I had to watch my speedo so as not to go over 150 kph. Apart from that it was a good stage -- fun to ride."

Isidre Esteve (Gauloises KTM) 3rd (at 5'18) 3rd overall (at 6'28)
"It was a good special for me as I started first this morning and managed to stay out in front the whole day, opening the piste. Yesterday I said that ideally I didn't want to give away more than 5 minutes and this evening I see that in the end I gave away 5'18, so not too bad. This race is all about confidence, confidence in your navigation, confidence in your bike and in both those departments I am feeling good. The bike is fun to ride. You can jump it when you need to, and perhaps more importantly make it change direction quickly when there's something to avoid on the piste."

David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) 7th (at 11'03) 6th overall (at 26'57)
"At km 40 a bolt broke on the instrument support and I rode with the road book reader and the trip flapping about until I got to refuelling. It wasn't too relaxing because if it had broken completely I would have been in real trouble. Then at refuelling I 'borrowed' a bolt off the petrol tank and solved the problem. Apart from that no problems. It was a good special to ride but not very complicated in terms of navigation."

Michel Gau (Gauloises KTM) 14th (at 30'07) 15th overall (at 1.06'33)
"At the start there was clouds of dust hanging over the piste and you just couldn't see where you were going. Despite that I still managed to catch a few riders and had no problems with the navigation. Then after refuelling I started to feel good on the bike and picked up the pace a little. Each day I learn something new and so go a little better. I hope they don't need me, but if either Cyril or Isidre have a problem I don't want to be too far away."

In the cars Peterhansel finally had a good run to win the special ahead of Miller (at 1'12) with Roma third (at 2'20) and Jean Louis Schlesser (Gauloises Schlesser Ford) fourth (at 4'11). Overall Sainz maintains his lead 1'28 ahead of Kleinschmidt with Alphand third (at 2'07). With less than 10 minutes separating the top 9 cars it is an extremely hard fought battle going into Mauritania with Schlesser 8th overall, just 4'14 off the lead. Behind him, new team mate Thierry Magnaldi is 10th (at 14'17) with Servia 14th (at 1.04'34).

Jean Louis Schlesser (Gauloises Schlesser Ford) 4th (at 4'11) 8th overall (at 4'14)
"I must admit I am pretty happy with how everything is going. Although 8th overall doesn't sound great when you look at how close we are in time to the leader you can see we are right there in the hunt. In addition tomorrow we will start in 4th place going into Mauritania, with Peterhansel opening the piste, which is just about perfect. Logically we should go well in the sand, especially with the new engine. Although it is a V8 it is extremely economical and means that we don't have to take on too much petrol. Plus the motor has a lot of torque. Already that has allowed us to preserve our tyres in Morocco and logically it should help us get through the dunes later on.

Today there was an incredible amount of dust and you had to be extremely careful overtaking the bikes. We stopped at km 80 for a rider who had fallen and although I don't know exactly how long we stayed it is possible that with the new Iritrack system we might get some time back."

Thierry Magnaldi (Gauloises Schlesser Ford) 10th (at 9'52) 10th overall (at 14'17)
"We punctured at km 150, which I don't understand at all as we didn't hit anything. That is the third one since the start of the rallye and at 5 minutes per puncture you can see the impact that has had on our overall position. Still there is a long way to go and I am looking forward to getting into Mauritania where our buggy should go really well."

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Cyril Despres , Marc Coma , David Casteu , Michel Gau , Thierry Magnaldi , Jean Louis Schlesser