Dakar: KTM stage one report

Esteve best of the rest The first stage of the 29th Dakar was a pretty nasty one. As promised it was sand straight from the start. And it was very soft sand. Two local stars Ruben Faria and Helder Rodrigues took the wholeshot. But they had...

Esteve best of the rest

The first stage of the 29th Dakar was a pretty nasty one. As promised it was sand straight from the start. And it was very soft sand. Two local stars Ruben Faria and Helder Rodrigues took the wholeshot.

But they had seen the stage so often, they might as well have ridden it blindfolded.

KTM Gauloises-rider Isidre Esteve was best of the rest. The Spaniard was only five minutes behind the Portuguese. 'I fell off on a fast bend and then just three corners from the end I stalled the bike. It took me at least a minute to start the engine again. Apart from that it was a good warm up, you just had to be careful overtaking the amateurs.'

David Casteu was just seven seconds behind his teammate Esteve. The Frenchman couldn't avoid some trouble. Having to brake for a slower rider in front of him, Casteu missed out on a corner and ended up in the audience. Nobody was hurt, except Casteu himself, but the injury on his leg is a minor one. 'Nothing serious,' he added, pointing at the tape to keep his pants in one piece. 'This will not stop me from trying to win the Dakar.'

Title holder Marc Coma (KTM Repsol) didn't take any risks. He was satisfied with his 13th position. 'It was a tough stage,' the Spaniard said. 'The sand was very soft and that made it pretty hard work. I didn't want to spend too much energy on a first stage. You can't win the Dakar here, only lose a lot of time.'

Dutchman Frans Verhoeven, newcomer in the KTM Gauloises-team, did exactly what he had to do: stay as close as possible behind leader rider Cyril Despres. The gap between Despres (10th) and his backup pilot (11th) was only two seconds.

-credit: ktm

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Marc Coma , David Casteu , Frans Verhoeven , Helder Rodrigues , Ruben Faria