Dakar: Gauloises Racing stage five report

Victory on the 5th stage of the 2007 Dakar went to Isidre Esteve (Gauloises KTM) ahead of Marc Coma, with Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) third. David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) was 8th with Frans Verhoeven (Gauloises KTM) 11th. Overall Coma sees his...

Victory on the 5th stage of the 2007 Dakar went to Isidre Esteve (Gauloises KTM) ahead of Marc Coma, with Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) third. David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) was 8th with Frans Verhoeven (Gauloises KTM) 11th. Overall Coma sees his lead reduced to 9'56 over Esteve with Casteu third (at 37'41), Despres 4th (at 47'33) and Verhoeven holding steady 7th (at 1.09'13).

Isidre Esteve (Gauloises KTM) 1st and 2nd overall (at 9'56)

"I really enjoyed myself over the first 50 kilometres -- the terrain reminded me of the countryside around where I live and where I grew up riding enduro bikes -- perhaps that is why I went well today. Then at about km 60 I came up into Marc Coma's dust and sat behind him until the finish line -- the track was too tricky and dusty to attempt an overtaking move. Now we are going into Mauritania and I think my position isn't too bad. I am still a little angry with myself for the mistake I made yesterday but 9 minutes is nothing in Mauritania, where the navigation can be very tricky - for sure there is everything to play for.

Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) 3rd (at 5'02) 4th overall (at 47'33)

"I admit that I didn't push my luck today. I attacked a little bit over the first, mountain section and then backed off when we got to the rocky stuff. The Spanish riders have always been quick in Morocco -- maybe 'cos the terrain is similar to where they live -- personally I can't bring myself to ride moto-x style on a rally bike over that going. By the refuelling point they had taken 3 minutes and 1 minute of me and then continued at that rythm for the rest of the special. When I look at the gap overall I can't say it fills me with joy, but if you subtract the 27 minutes I lost with the gearbox, and the 12 I lost in the dust the next day as a consequence, it is 'understandable'. But let's not get too excited, there is still a long way to go and Lady Luck is a fickle mistress."

David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) 8th (at 15'15) 3rd overall (at 37'41)

"It was less rocky than yesterday but pretty rock all the same and I didn't take any chances -- it is never a good idea to touch the ground in Morocco. Despite riding quietly I nevertheless hung on to my 3rd place overall -- even if I lost a little ground.

"The bike only bivouac last night was an excellent idea. Obviously with the fatal accident of Elmer Symons the atmosphere wasn't great, but David Castera is to be applauded for the initative as it brought all the bike riders together so that we could share the special bound we have between us."

Frans Verhoeven (Gauloises KTM) 11th (at 19'31) 7th overall (at 1.09'13)

"I thought yesterday's bivouac would be much more uncomfortable than it actually was and it was a good experience despite the accident. I worked on my bike and then gave Cyril a hand with his. We didn't know each other very well before the start of the rally so doing something like that helps to build the relationship which I would say is working very well now."

"Today it was like they'd put all the rocks and stones from the whole world in one place. I started with all my tanks full and by refuelling had only touched the rear. So I just put a couple of litres in the back and the bike was much more comfortable to ride."

Tomorrow the riders head off through the 'wall' to Mauritania and the longest stage of the rally, 817 km of which 394 are special stage.

-credit: gr

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