Dakar: Repsol teams stage ten report

Repsol riders and drivers keep their chances Fuel consumption and dune passages were the key of the stage. Despres takes back the lead of the race with Coma third and Esteve fourth. Peterhansel wins again and Roma is back in sixth place of the...

Repsol riders and drivers keep their chances

Fuel consumption and dune passages were the key of the stage. Despres takes back the lead of the race with Coma third and Esteve fourth. Peterhansel wins again and Roma is back in sixth place of the overall standings.

With start and finish in Atar, the tenth stage of the Dakar has confronted riders and drivers with a very selective route, including stones and very soft dunes in its first half and very fast tracks in the second. Cyril Despres and Stephane Peterhansel have been the winners of the stage and lead the overalls standings as well. The Repsol riders finished the stage with no big news, keeping their chances, but a bit further behind the motorbike leadership. Esteve was third quickest of the stage and is fourth overall, while Coma, who run out of fuel and finished fifth fastest, is third overall 16.02 behind Despres. Sala is eighth.

Absolute dominance of the Repsol drivers in the car class. Peterhansel and Alphand took again a one-two finish and consolidate their leading positions in the first and second place of the overall standings, where Nani Roma has recovered the sixth place after an excellent stage he finished eight. Masuoka is fifth and Andrea Mayer had not reached the finish line yet at the time this information was transmitted.

Coma has been the only rider for whom the day was not favourable at all. He ran out of fuel three kilometres before the refuelling, but he was able to continue thanks to his team-mate Giovanni Sala, although they lost almost ten minutes. All of them are however ready to take the start of tomorrow's stage.

Both riders and drivers consider this stage to be the most difficult of the Dakar. Starting in Atar and arriving in Kiffa, the stage will have a 656-special. The first half, where they will be heading to Tidjikja, crossing the Bu Naga peak, includes several dune passages, with very soft sand than can have again an influence on the fuel consumption. Then there is a new track, through the valleys of the Tagant massif, crossing the wonderful oasis of Ksar el Barka before taking the very stony road that will take them to the Nega pass, this time downwards. The final 150 km are very fast.

Luc Alphand: "Stephane and I drove well together today. We pushed a little, nothing that would risk our position. We stopped to put some air in the tires after PC2 and ran together to make sure that we were together if anything happened. I think it was a good strategy and we have taken more time out of Jutta Kleinschmidt today."

Stephane Peterhansel: "It was a nice and varied stage today," said Peterhansel. "We passed along many tracks and dunes and a new pass off-road, where we had to climb a little. There was around 60 kms of camel grass and then some more dunes. We had a flat tire at the top of the pass and then we deflated the tires to around 1.6 bar pressure. I hit one small dune quite hard and there is a little front damage, but nothing too serious. It was good to drive together today and the result of the stage has strengthened our position in the race."

Isidre Esteve: "It wasn't very complicated as regards navigation but there were a lot of dunes. I opened the road and I did it until km 100. Meoni caught up with me then and we took turns crossing the dunes because the sand was very soft and we had problems passing. When we reached the refuelling at CP2, we saw that there was a big gap to the other riders.

The rest of the route was really fast. We rode cautiously at the beginning and once we had emptied the rear fuel tanks we opened the throttle until the finish. I'm happy for the third place and ready for a stage that, from my point of view, is going to be one of the most complicated of the rally. We'll find everything, because there are going to be dunes, camel grass, and a lot of navigation. It will with no doubt be an important day".

Marc Coma: "I started from the back and was able to ride fast without worrying too much about navigation. That's what I did but I had a problem: I ran out of fuel three kilometres before the refuelling. Fortunately my team-mate Giovanni Sala helped me out with a couple of litres. If it wouldn't have been for him I'd probably be out of the race. I want to thank him for the job, so important, he is doing. Tomorrow's stage will be one of the most complicated with a 650-km special and very complicated navigation".

Giovanni Sala: "After the rest day it is difficult to be back in the race and with a fast pace. It was a difficult track with stones at the beginning, followed by very soft dunes. The fuel consumption was very important, Marc was being very fast and he had fuel problems. I stopped to help him and it took us almost ten minutes. The rest of the route was very fast and without major problems. Too bad this happened because the result could have been much better. I've seen Marc very fast today and navigating well, and I think that both he and Esteve are in good conditions to fight for the victory".

Jordi Arcarons: "Problems can happen every day. Today with Marc, the fuel consumption shot up, whatever the causes were. A fast pace, wind or the dunes. Fortunately Sala was able to help him and they have lost less time than expected. The stage tomorrow will be very long, a lot of kilometres and navigation and those who start first will have a complicated job opening the road. Those who start from the back have a theoretical advantage but anything can happen with so many kilometres ahead".

-repsol-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Luc Alphand , Jutta Kleinschmidt , Stéphane Peterhansel , Cyril Despres , Giovanni Sala , Andrea Mayer , Nani Roma , Marc Coma , Jordi Arcarons