Dakar: Gauloises Racing stage six report

MAGNALDI WINNER OF THE STAGE There was high drama in the bike class today with the crash of race favourite Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM). Last year's winner fell heavily in the camel grass at km 273 and briefly knocked himself out. Opening the...

MAGNALDI WINNER OF THE STAGE

There was high drama in the bike class today with the crash of race favourite Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM). Last year's winner fell heavily in the camel grass at km 273 and briefly knocked himself out. Opening the piste, he was helped to his feet by team mate Isidre Esteve and Marc Coma and was able to finish the special despite dislocating his collarbone. Victory went to Carlos De Gavardo, with Sala second and Esteve third. Overall Coma increases his lead, with Despres now 3'43 behind the leader and Esteve third (at 4'25).

Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) 7th (at 8'13) 2nd overall (at 3'43)
"To be honest I don't remember the crash, but I do remember hitting some camel grass and the back end (recently filled with fuel) kicking up. Isidre and Marc arrived and helped me straighten the bike out, we talked to race control via the Iritrack system and then off we went. The pain was indescribable and I thought that I had broken my collarbone but it turns out I have 'only' dislocated it. The doctors say it is a stage 2 dislocation and that I won't do any further damage by trying to ride with it. What they cannot tell me is whether I will be able to stand the pain. Apparently it is going to hurt like hell but they will strap it up and I will and see how it feels. I couldn't go home without at least trying to ride...My feelings are very mixed. On the one hand it is 11 months training down the drain and that is obviously very frustrating. On the other hand it could have been a lot worse. One thing is for sure, I will never ride without a neck protector again."

Isidre Esteve (Gauloises KTM) 3rd (at 3'52) 3rd (at 4'25)
"By the time Marc and I reached Cyril he was conscious but a little groggy. Then after he had talked to race control he seemed better and off we went. I did the same thing as he has done a few years ago and the next day it was extremely painful. I think he will suffer a lot tomorrow..."

Michel Gau (Gauloises KTM) 23rd (at 28'03) 16th overall (at 1.28'41)
"It was very fast today and I found it difficult to take the risk of riding flat out. Towards the end I came across David (Casteu) with a burnt out mousse so I stopped to help him - so my time wasn't brilliant today."

David Casteu 26th at 37'09 10th overall (at 58'11)
"It was my fault, I was too much in a hurry to catch Andy Caldicott, who started just ahead of me, and melted my rear mousse. With the help of Michel I fitted an inner tube and then had to ride slowly to the end as I didn't want to fix it a second time. I think it has cost me a lot of time."

It was a better day for the Gauloises backed cars with Thierry Magnaldi (Gauloises Schlesser Ford) winning the special ahead of team boss Jean Louis, with De Villiers third. Overall De Villiers takes the lead 0'22 ahead of Carlos Sainz with Kleinschmidt third (at 0'34) and Schlesser 4th (at 1'02). Thierry Magnaldi moves up to 8th (at 8'10)m with Servia in 14th place (at 1.18'33). The first nine cars are still within less than 10 minutes of eachother.

Thierry Magnaldi (Gauloises Schlesser Ford) 1st (in 3.22.54) 8th overall (at 8'10)
"This is my first special win on the Dakar in a car and reassures me that I am competitive on four wheels. It has to be said that today's route was well suited to our car which I don't think will be the case tomorrow and I reckon we will lose some time -- especially as it will be us who are opening."

Jean Louis Schlesser (Gauloises Schlesser Ford) 2nd (at 2'55) 4th overall (at 1'02)
"Although the result is good it could have been a lot better if we hadn't punctured 40 km from the finish line in the off-piste. Without that we could have not only won the special but taken the overall lead."

Jose Maria Servia (Gauloises Schlesser Ford) 16th (at 20'06) 14th overall (at 1.18'33)
"No problems today -- though we started way back this morning after yesterday's misadventures when we broke a rear wheel at km 92 and had no choice but to fit a spare front in its place."

-gauloises-

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