Motorcycles Cyril Despres (FRA -- KTM -- Stage winner) - 002 Alfie's (Cox) presence with the Spaniards helped me a lot. He waited for me and was riding rather slowly and that made them lose time. It was a real team race, very tactical. But I...
Cyril Despres (FRA -- KTM -- Stage winner) - 002
Alfie's (Cox) presence with the Spaniards helped me a lot. He waited for me and was riding rather slowly and that made them lose time. It was a real team race, very tactical. But I had the intention to ride fast to control my lead. I have nothing to say concerning the time penalty I was given yesterday. It was at the end of the day, I went through a village where there was no one and the road was wide. I was probably slightly elsewhere.It was a good thing that the fight carried on because now I think I deserve what I came for even more: first position. There was a lot of navigation especially at the village exits with numerous different tracks. Actually quite a few bikers got lost.If I win, it'll be a victory and homage. During the tests that we did in Tunisia, we had made the promise with Fabrizio (Meoni) to put a 'blue bike' on the podium. My main achievement is to have managed that goal, for him and for Richard (Sainct). It's an indescribable feeling. I don't want to be sad but that's how I feel. I don't want to be happy but it's difficult not to be.
Marc Coma (SPA -- KTM -- 8th of the special) - 006
It wasn't easy today. There was some navigation during the special and I made a mistake in a village. I got lost and Cyril Despres and Isidre Esteve caught me there. After that, we rode together, not fast, looking at each other. It's quite normal according to the overall standing that we didn't take risks and stayed together. I'm very happy with my second place overall and I would have signed for it before the rally. But the circumstances make the result less important this year. I would only like the people to get together and think about what happened so that the rally takes a new good direction, making it better for everybody. In that case, I'll come back with pleasure. You know... it's my life!
Isidre Esteve (SPA -- KTM -- 4th) - 007
It was a day for navigation. It was a real special where it was still possible to manage some gaps. Unfortunately, I had too much of a time deficit on Alfie (Cox) to catch him. However, tomorrow, we'll have 25kms of moto-cross and that's my kind of thing, so you never know. But it's still very difficult to focus on the race. We don't want to take further risks. Speed comes second now. Fabrizio is still well present in our minds and the competition that there was between us no longer exists.
Andy Caldecott (AUS -- KTM -- 3rd of the special) - 023
It's was a pretty good day. Very steady... I didn't push the bike at all, and I know the others didn't either. I crashed but it wasn't too bad. I was behind Jean Brucy's dust and tried to pass him... I had the onboard TV camera so they might have some good footage! It took a while to get to the Parc Fermé because there was a lot of people on the road... What a mess! I'm very happy to finally be in Dakar, safe. Unfortunately, my family isn't with me because it was too expensive from Australia so I'm going to party with my team. I'm happy with my 6th place overall because without my 30' of penalty, I would have been in the Top 5 which was my goal at the beginning. It's my second Dakar, and it went better than last year as I knew what to look for this time.
Alain Duclos (FRA -- KTM -- 2nd) - 026
I felt on the finish line of the special that I had managed a good time. But to finish second... I'm super happy. For me of course but also for Tony (team manger of KTM -- Toni Togo) who gave me the opportunity to compete. At least he didn't bust his b... for nothing! I would have liked to be the first African to win a special. But I'm not going to complain. Cyril is a great rider.But it shows that I was right to get back on a bike. Two years ago, at the same period, I was in a wheel chair. I had plenty of doubts in Barcelona and slowly but surely, I felt better and better. For example, in the last week, I always finished in the Top 15. You can call that a winning comeback.
Thierry Magnaldi (FRA -- Honda -- 4th of the stage) - 305
We enjoyed ourselves today. Another good day with a very pleasant stage, very technical. Just as I like them. We did a lot of jumps, with high speed and a very twisty track between the trees in the first part of the stage. Very nice to drive! I'm very happy to be at last in Dakar. This rally was very difficult... Much more than last year, with a lot of Camel grass and bad weather. I'm happy of my 8th position of the overall standings because my main goal at the beginning was to end in the Top 10 and also because last year I finished 9th. It's just a shame that I lost 3 hours for a stupid problem under the car on the Zouerat to Tichit stage. For next year, I really wish I have a car to fight for a place in the Top 5, and drive with the leaders, just as I did during the last days.
Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA -- Mitsubishi -- 5th of the stage) - 306
It was a pretty nice stage today, very fun, technical with a lot of slidding. However we did it carefully, because it was the last long stage of the race so we were very focused on all the mechanical noises. It was a little bit stressful so we didn't have as much fun as we did on the kind of stages with nothing to lose. Anyway we've been driving carefully for the last two days and we'll do the same thing tomorrow for the last one, even if it shouldn't be the most difficult. We have done the hardest part, but I don't want to talk about victory before the finish line of tomorrow's stage.
Bruno Saby (FRA -- VW -- 2nd) - 307
It was a good day for us. We started in 2nd spot this morning, behind Ari Vatanen, but he stopped immediately to wait for De Villiers, so we had to open the road all day. Which surely helped Giniel to clinch the stage victory today. It was a stage with very difficult navigation, where the bikes could help us find the way but also mislead us by going in all directions. Luckily, Michel Perin, my co-driver, did a perfect job. Our car climbed another step this year, there still is a lot of details which could be better. But it's normal because this is only our second participation in the Dakar. Now, we know that we're on the good way, and that the wish of seeing Volkswagen win the Dakar is not utopia anymore. The potential and will are present, added to the fact that the team has understood this year what the Dakar spirit is. So, all of this is very good for the future.
Giniel de Villiers (SAF -- Nissan -- Stage winner) - 314
Another beautiful stage today. The car worked very well. The stage was really pleasant to drive with a lot of rhythm changes and very technical sections. We tried to attack to gain time on Jutta, but without taking too many risks because we didn't want to lose our 4th position. However tonight the race is over for me, I no longer have the chance to climb on the final podium. So tomorrow I will just enjoy the sea view. I had some hard days on this rally, which was really difficult, but I'm very satisfied of my last part to get to Dakar in the 4th position of the overall standings. Some friends are coming here, but not my family so I'll fly back to South Africa on Monday morning to see them as quickly as possible.
Carlos Sousa (POR -- Nissan -- 3rd of the stage) - 315
I wanted to manage a great stage today, just to finish well. But on the 25th km, I was blocked by Monterde, who didn't let me overtake. And with the dust, it was impossible to overtake. If I had known about my good time, I would have taken more risks. Anyway, the final result is positive. I'm driving for a private team, which hasn't the budget of the official teams and I'm 7th of the overall standings. I came to bother them as much as I could and if I hadn't my mechanical problems during the stage around Atar, which cost me 7 hours, I'll would have been 5th of the overall standings.
Gerard de Rooy (HOL -- DAF -- 3rd of the stage) - 516
It was a very nice special today, although the track was a little bit too narrow for us with all the little trees. But apart from that everything was perfect. I'm very glad to be in Dakar because it was a tough edition. I'm especially glad because we started the rally with 3 rally trucks, and we arrived here with all of them. I think we are the only team to succeed in bringing all the trucks to Dakar. It's a big victory for us; even if we are not as well positioned in the overall standings (Jan De Rooy is 5th and his son Gerard 6th) as expected before the race.
Firdaus Kabirov (RUS -- Kamaz -- 8th of the stage) - 520
Personally I had greater feelings than in 1999 when I arrived for the first time in Dakar. Anyway, every victory is a team victory. But I managed a smart race this year, without big problems. I'm especially proud to have avoided the gasoline problem in the Zouerat to Tichit stage. I rode really slowly because I was really worried about running out of gas. In fact I thought I was the last truck to arrive in Tichit. Apart of that, I really don't care about being the one that gives Kamaz a sixth victory and do as well as Tatra with Loprais. In fact it's especially important for Kamaz, because it's a new selling argument and it opens new markets.
Hans Bekx (HOL -- DAF -- 13th of the stage) - 524
It's a wonderful result. There's the final stage tomorrow, but everything should go well. Before the race, we weren''t hoping for this second place of the overall standings, and our goal was to finish 5th. Three factors could explain this good result: first of all, the problems of the others trucks, then our fantastic suspensions and finally our very smart race. We drove carefully all the way. And just after taking second position we started controlling the gap with our opponents. Now I'm very impatient of climbing on the podium tomorrow.