Dakar: Marc Coma - Repsol rest day interview

MARC COMA TAKES A SHORT BREAK IN NOUAKCHOTT During the rest day, Marc tells us about what they have left behind and what expects the Repsol KTM team in the remaining seven race days Massages, good food, getting back strength, some hours of ...

MARC COMA TAKES A SHORT BREAK IN NOUAKCHOTT

During the rest day, Marc tells us about what they have left behind and what expects the Repsol KTM team in the remaining seven race days

Massages, good food, getting back strength, some hours of sleep, analysing and studying the new pace and above all, and that's the most important, not lowering the guard, keeping concentration and not forgetting that the race is only in its halfway point. Along the history of this race, that celebrates its 28th edition this year, there are several mistakes that have been made by riders and drivers on "the day after" the rest day, where the momentary relax, pleasant visits of friends and relatives, and the warmth of civilisation can make you loose contact to the "real thing" for a moment. This is not the case of Marc Coma, who knows that the Dakar can bite at the slightest lapse.

Concentrated and remote from the activity in the bivouac on this rest day, Marc tells us about his most difficult moments along the race, the development and what is yet to come.

Marc, almost 5,000 kms are now left behind and there are 4,095 to go. How has this first half gone and how does Marc face the rest of this 2006 Lisbon Dakar?

"We have reached the halfway point of the rally and a large part of the Dakar has already been raced, but there is still a much more important part ahead. Any kilometre of the 9,000 kms of this Dakar Rally is important, so we're going to be very prudent and keep concentrated. I'm very happy with how things are working out so far; Portugal was a real show, with longer stages than what we are used to in Europe, and with a lot of spectators. Then we entered Morocco, where it was more or less as always: dangerous, a lot of dust, broken tracks and a lot of stones. Then we entered Mauritania and that's where the hardest Dakar began, with typical stages in the Mauritanian desert, and some of them extremely hard."

You have raced on dunes, rocky tracks and there's been a lot of navigation so far. What are you going to face now in these remaining seven days?

"We still have two days in Mauritania with dunes and off-road riding, and then we'll enter Mali, Guinea and Senegal, with more savannah and even forest, laterite tracks and some really enduro-like areas, where riding will prevail over navigation."

There are seven days left and except for the last one, which hardly doesn't count because it's a very short special, the rest of the days will be very important to increase the advantage. Which do you think will be the most decisive days from here to Dakar?

"Well. We'll see, they can all be decisive. The two stages in Mauritania will be very important and difficult as regards navigation, let's hope we do them right. Then we'll have to be on the alert, because problems can appear at any time."

A complicated moment in this Dakar--

"We've had two serious problems. The first one appeared when the mousse of the rear tyre disintegrated before arriving in Atar and I still had to cover the last 50 kilometres, although I want to look at it as something positive, because I was able to get to the finish of the special and to the bivouac without loosing much time. And the second was yesterday, when there was no way to find a hidden waypoint during the special and I felt that I was loosing a lot of time, although I finally found it and it all ended as a little fright."

Your main rivals--

"All those we already considered as such before the start: Isidro Esteve, Cyril Despres, De Gavardo--maybe Fretigne is missing because he's had some problems. But I think all of them have to be considered as such."

One of the riders you mentioned, Cyril Despres, suffered a heavy crash in the Tan Tan - Zouerat stage and although everybody thought that he wouldn't be in the final fight, he's already third overall and can get back into the fight.

"Yes, I haven't ruled him out at any moment; Cyril is a born fighter, now he's showing it and we'll have to take him into account until the last day. A shoulder dislocation hurts a lot, but it doesn't hinder you from riding the bike. Now he's had the chance to rest and we'll see how he'll react tomorrow."

-repsol-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Cyril Despres , Marc Coma