Dakar to Dakar Connection: 36 km - Special: 16 km - Connection: 41 km Total: 93 km Bike: Cyril Despres (FRA -- KTM Gauloises -- Winner) I had hoped for so long that this last day would have such a great flavor. I might have been the only one...
Dakar to Dakar
Connection: 36 km - Special: 16 km - Connection: 41 km
Total: 93 km
Cyril Despres (FRA -- KTM Gauloises -- Winner)
I had hoped for so long that this last day would have such a great flavor. I might have been the only one to believe in it after the trouble I had had in the beginning of the rally and this is probably what I am most proud of. If I had a book to write everything that happened during the rally, I think I could write 100 pages or more. I had misfortunes; I had luck too... it was a crazy Dakar. The toughest moments in the rally were the last 30 km of the Tambacounda stage: I knew Marc had fallen but I didn't know how he was. There is respect between us. I think that 8 months ago, when I had the ski accident and I got out of the avalanche, I would never have thought I would be able to focus sitting on a bike for more than 5 minutes. When I see what I managed to do, i.e. being able to pilot the bike at such high level for so long, it's a real victory for me...
David Casteu (FRA - KTM Gauloises -- 2nd in the overall rankings)
I had a bit of scare yesterday. I could repair my gas pipe and refuel thanks to the privateers. Fortunately as well the start of the special stage was delayed by 30 minutes. So I ended up having to attack not to loose too much ground on Blais. Attacking in this stage was not at all on my agenda! But this is what the Dakar is all about; there is always something going on and you can never take things for granted. I came here to fight and I'm second, it's fantastic! In my life as a pro pilot, it's a great day. Now I'll analyze it all and think about what next. Winning the Dakar is obviously one of my aims now.
Chris Blais (USA -- KTM -- 3rd in the overall rankings)
It all seems surreal. I think it will actually hit me when I'm back home in the US. I had to keep going, there had to be an American on the podium. What matters the most in the Dakar is to remain steady. It paid off for me. I felt much better than in my previous Dakars. Cyril Despres has again proven that he is the best because he is clever in the race. My aim now is to win the Dakar one day and today I know I can.
Pal Anders Ullevalseter (NOR -- KTM -- 4th in the overall rankings)
I'm great! This Dakar was hard for me. I had a big crash in Morocco which made me loose a lot of time. That's why I'm so happy to be in the top 5 at Lac Rose. It was my goal when I started but it got quickly tricky. Cyril (Despres) is really the best but I'm still sad for Marc Coma.
Helder Rodrigues (POR - Yamaha -- 5th in the overall rankings)
My aim was to be in the top 5 and to win at least one stage. I am 5th in the overall rankings and I won two stages. I am very happy. We worked well together. The team was better and so was the bike. I was unable to give priority to preparing the Dakar because of my endurance season. But next year, I'll change priorities and dedicate more time to preparing the Dakar.
Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA -- Mitsubishi -- Winner)
It wasn't the easiest of all my victories! Sometimes I won with more than 30 minutes lead, this time it was a very close call till the end. At first, we got roughed up by Volkswagen. We had to keep our heads clear and the race was won by the book eventually. Then, there was the struggle with Luc, which was tricky because it remained a close call till the end. Actually it was pretty stressful. I'm not bothered about not winning any special stage. When your aim is final victory, you don't think about stages. I learned that with my first victory on a bike in an African rally where I also won at the end without winning a single stage.
Luc Alphand (FRA -- Mitsubishi -- 2nd)
What I recall is that the team did a great job and that we are finishing with two cars ranking first and second in the overall rankings. In the beginning, we wanted to win to pay tribute to Henri Magne, who did in the Morocco Rally and today I am also thinking about him even if it's only a small solace for him and for his family. As for being second, well, I cannot complain too much because in the last three Dakars, I finished second twice and won once. It's not so bad actually, all the more so that Stéphane is a great competitor. But it doesn't mean he can't be beaten. I haven't said my last word. The race was long and I made several small mistakes. In this game, it's not the one with the fastest car who wins, it's the one making the least mistakes. Maybe I made one more mistake than he did.
Jean-Louis Schlesser (FRA - Schles/Ford -- 3rd in the overall rankings)
Of course I'm very happy. I'm not going to complain, am I? What is interesting is that I am first in two-wheel drive. Two-wheel drive cars have much lower budgets than others and the legislator has to help us. Not just for me but for all of those racing in this category. With this result I will go home stronger and come back to win next year. The Dakar will always be the Dakar! Arriving here is always awesome. The race was long and hard. Let's not forget that this year there were pretty demanding special stages, that the pace was fast from the outset on, that there was a very long marathon stage to Tichit and another to Nema. Quite a Dakar! This is why the result is so dear to me.
Mark Miller (USA -- Volkswagen -- 4th in the overall rankings)
It's nice to be at the end. You have a funny feeling when you get to Lac Rose, no matter where you stand in the rankings. Volkswagen really did a good job on this Dakar. I had come here to win so being 4th is still a disappointment. We just didn't get lucky. But we did prove that we had the speed, and that we were a good team. So it's promising for the future.
Hiroshi Masuoka (JAP -- Mitsubishi -- 5th in the overall rankings)
I'm very happy it's over. Mainly because over the last two years I didn't finish. I hoped to be in the top three so there could be three Mitsubishi on the podium but it was not possible unfortunately. We had bad luck for a day with our mechanical problems, just a day, but it's all it takes to loose a Dakar. I have faith for the future. This year, I was racing my 20th Dakar and I will be back with the hope of winning the race for my 21st.