Stage 15: Dakar to Dakar
January 15, 2006
Connection 38 km - Special 31 km - Connection 41 km
Total 110 km
Around Lac Rose: over the years, the exercise has be-come a motor sport classic. Some are still tempted to go after a handful of seconds to hoist themselves up one or two places in the overall classification. Others quietly take advantage of a moment which they have imagined for a long time before actually experiencing it. For everyone, the thrill is immense.
Because of the dramatic events of the last two days, the final stage Dakar - Dakar, taking the competitors to the podium at Lac Rose, will not be timed.
David Casteu (FRA -- KTM -- 8th overall)
"Before the start, KTM hired me to help Isidre Esteve to win. Me, I said to my family, that my goal was to have a stage victory, to finish in the Top 10 and to doing well my job. Well, I've perfectly done all of this. I won a stage, I finish 8th of the overall standings and I've done my job by stopping the Isidre's race when he hurts himself by falling. For that, I received the Fair Play Super Trophy. I want dedicated it to all the amateurs' riders, who have more pain than pleasure on this race. Today, I'm really thinking to all of them who haven't seen the finish line this year"
David Fretigne (FRA -- Yamaha -- 12th overall)
"It was a relief to won yesterday's stage. This Dakar has been very hard compared to my previous ones. For these two first Dakar, I didn't fall, I didn't have any technical problem. Maybe it was the beginner's luck. I am going to analyse everything that happened this year to prepare next year. Actually, I already know that it's hard to battle alone with a 450 CC."
Marc Coma (SPA - KTM - 1st overall)
"Firstable, I want to dedicate my victory to Andy (Caldecott). It's a bit difficult to realize now that I've just won Le Dakar. But I'll be able to realize it slowly while thinking of all the people who helped me. I'm going to celebrate this victory with them. Anyway it's a strange feeling to express. But for sure the victory wouldn't have been possible without all the members of my team, especially Jordi Arcarons."
Cyril Despres (FRA - KTM - 2nd overall)
"I have a mixed feeling but it's more positive than anything else as far as my result is concerned. Of course I lost my title but it's a real satisfaction to be here on the podium because I thought I would give up after my accident. I can't forget all the efforts I made to reach Dakar and I'm pretty happy about that. The race was a good "millesime" (vintage) this year. We've been spoiled by the organisers. "
Giovanni Sala (ITA - KTM - 3rd overall)
"Yesterday, it was very difficult. I got lost and was tense since I could see the American. So I took risks and rode fast to make I'll stay third. And I am on the podium just a few minutes ahead. And I am "contentissimo". I started very safely on this Dakar. I had not breally tested the boke before. The first two stages in Morocco were dangerous, and many riders were riding to fast. But day by day, I felt myself much more at ease and got closer to the leaders. If I had been told in Lisbon that I would be in the top 5 in Dakar, I would have signed for it immediatly. And I am on the podium! Really, it is so great!"
Carlo de Gavardo (CHI - KTM - 5th overall)
"The most important in this race is to arrive in Dakar. Words can't express the feeling you have when you reach the Lac Rose. For me, it is the result for all the work we have done for almost one year. Very few people can realise how hard you have to work to be in the top 5.
Being here is fabulous. I am ready to suffer on his bike, so I really appreciate what being here means. Actually, it is unique."
Chris Blais (USA - KTM - 4th overall)
"I'm really happy to finish 4th for my second Dakar, it's just fantastic. My goal was to do better than last year and I achieved it. I experienced another great adventure, very risky but that's what I like. We, pilots, obviously knew those risks. The race was more difficult than last year's one because of long and exhausting "liaisons". I suffered from short sleep. Anyway, I must be crazy because I already want to come back in the race. I do hope I'll be able to reach the top 3 at Dakar."
Alain Duclos (FRA/MAL - KTM - 7th overall)
"That was my 5th Dakar and my goal was to finish in the top 10. Therefore I'm really satisfied with my overall ranking. A stage win at Bamako, my birth place, was icing on the cream. I think that the pace of the race was faster and more exhausting than last year's one. I was not that fit compared with last year. But experience was crucial again".
Luc Alphand (FRA -- Mitsubishi -- 1st overall)
"It is always a big relief to be in Dakar. And when you win, it is incredible. It has been a beautiful race, with a real battle. We had to push ourselves further every day in the car, even when we were more than tired. I don't really realize what is happening to me, even I have believing I could since Labe, after Stephane hit a tree. But I had to remain focused on everything till the end. And today, I am very happy."
Giniel de Villiers (RSA - VW - 2nd overall)
"I'm so glad to finish 2nd behind Luc (ALphand)who did a really good job. Maybe I would have needed to be more lucky to win Le Dakar. Globally speaking, the race has been very good for me and for the whole team Volkswagen. We had competitive cars and great pilots. The race was a fast-breaking one and each competitor paid cash any mistake. I would like to thank Tina (Thorner) for her excellent navigation work".
Carlos Sainz (SPA -VW - 11th overall)
"I had been told many times that the Dakar was a very special and difficult race. So I was prepared for something very hard. Of course it was hard but I really appreciated. I said I was here to learn and obviously I have learnt a lot an,d I am almost sure I'll be there next year."
Nani Roma (ESP - Mitsubishi - 3rd overall)
"This third place is a great pleasure. I fulfill my goal. And I don't regret a single thing, in spite of the few mistakes I made. But every one has made some mistakes. It is maybe the main thing in this race: every one experiences some troubles. In fact no one can realise the perfect race. That's why I am so happy."
Stephane Peterhansel (FRA - Mitsubishi - 4th overall)
"Of course it's a little bit frustating but I'm also satisfied for Mitsubishi team and for Luc (Alphand) and Gilles (Picard). Their happiness makes me feel glad. Let's say that our team's satisfaction is more important than my own disappointment. I'm going to think about something else now. I'll be focusing on the next Dakar in a few months".
Mark Miller (USA -- VW -- 5th overall)
"Taking part in the Dakar on wonderful, and being in the Top 5 is definetely unbelievable. I couldn't even imagine such a result for me. So, today, I am a very happy man. I feel like I have lived an unique adventure.Actually, I can't hardly express my feelings. If I had to focus on one or two special moments, I would think about the stage during which I crashed the car in the dunes, and the moment when I overtook Peterhansel on thye way to Bamako. I have so much respect for him. he is a huge champion."
Guerlain Chicherit (FRA - BMW - 9nd overall)
"Our race has been extremely positive. We knew that we would have upsets because we couldn't test the car so well. In fact, we wanted to know if we would be able to get into the battle with the front-runners. And we had the confirmation only 5 or 6 days ago that was possible. Since then, I didn't want to take any risk. It took one week to find my own pace. I asked my team manager if I could drive fast for the last 5 days of the race. He said: "Yes but don't break the car". Therefore I felt more confortable and I achieved good results. It's really interesting for the next Dakar".
Vladimir Chagin (RUS - Kamaz - 1st overall)
"We will remenber for a long time this Dakar and its wonderful start in Portugal. The race has been very tight this year. The first stages were classical, then we have had three very difficults sandy stages. And then, the job was made. With this fifth victory I get closer to Loprais records of six victory. Even if I hoipe I'll win next year, my main ambition is not to beat him. I hope I'll win many others Dakar in the future. And I also hope there will be many competitors in the trucks race."
Hans Stacey (HOL - Man - 2nd overall)
"So, it's done. I am at the Lac Rose. I am so happy about this second place. I really have a lot of respect for every other truck. I leave with the strong will to work hard and already prepare next year's race. And I also notice that tyhe atmosphere has been very cool, especially between the Kamaz and us."
Firdaus Kabirov (RUS - Kamaz - 3rd)
"We have had good results. For our factory, this sixth victory is very important. The race was very well organized, the road book was good. Every thing was OK. As every pased year, The first stages were quite easy before two very difficult days in the dunes. ,Personnally, I have been on the podium many times this year. I am very happy about my Dakar, but my best memory on the rallye will always be the first time I reached the Lac Rose, in 1999."