Dakar: Gauloises Racing stage one report

Injured Despres wins. In front of a huge and enthusiastic crowd, the fourth largest entry in the history of Dakar got underway this evening with a 1 km parallel-track prologue at Parc Chanot in Marseilles. Alfie Cox. Photo by...

Injured Despres wins.

In front of a huge and enthusiastic crowd, the fourth largest entry in the history of Dakar got underway this evening with a 1 km parallel-track prologue at Parc Chanot in Marseilles.

Alfie Cox.
Photo by Gauloises Racing.

In the bike class victory went to Gauloises KTM rider Cyril Despres, with Nani Roma (KTM) second and unknown Frenchman Cyril Raynal third. Fastest car over the extremely bumpy track was Kenjiro Shinozuka (Nissan) just ahead of Peterhansel (Mitsubishi) and Masuoka (Mitsubishi). Jean-Louis Schlesser, in his Gauloises Schlesser Ford, was 8th with team mate Josep-Maria Servia just behind the 'boss' in 9th place. In the trucks victory went to the Brazilian De Azevedo with De Rooy senior second and Pattono third.

Motorcycles:

Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) 1st in 1'39.89
"I have never ridden a super-cross before but I reckon that the crowd here made as least as much noise. The water splash was my first shower of the year - but apart from that no problems. I was a little apprehensive on the first jump, after breaking my collarbone just over 3 weeks ago, but it went fine - so I jumped all the others."

Richard Sainct (Gauloises KTM) 7th in 1'43.32
"It was very slippery out there and a little too early to take any risks so I took it easy. It was however a great way to start the rallye - to know that the public is behind you as you head off towards the desert."

Alfie Cox (Gauloises KTM) 10th in 1'44.15
"When I walked the course yesterday I couldn't help thinking it was going to be tough on a rallye bike - in fact it wasn't as bad as it looked. This is my 5th Dakar and every year more and more people turn out for the start."

Fabrizio Meoni (Gauloises KTM) 15th in 1'48.01
"I didn't know the water splash was that deep! Richard (Sainct) told me it was only 20 cm but it must have been a lot more than that. Still it was a good 'baptism' and will hopefully bring me luck for the rest of the race."

Cars:

Jean-Louis Schlesser (Gauloises Schlesser Ford) 8th in 1'51.51
"The course had lots of jumps but they were too close together for us and I didn't want to take any risks. I didn't want to take any chances through the water splash either and went through at walking pace. It was great to see that so many people had turned out to see us all off."

Josep-Maria Servia(Gauloises Schlesser Ford) 9th in 1'51.51
"It was good fun but not long enough to really get into it. We barely got the car dirty!"

Rene Metge(Gauloises Mercedes) 48th in 2'20.43
"We took it very easy as we didn't want to risk damaging the car over the bumps. My co-driver (Elodie, Rene's daughter) did a great job guiding me around all the hazards."

-gr-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Jean-Louis Schlesser , Fabrizio Meoni , Cyril Despres , Alfie Cox , Richard Sainct , René Metge , Nani Roma , Josep-Maria Servia