Dakar: Stage one Lisbon to Portimao quotes

Lisboa to Portimão Saturday January 6, 2007 Connection: 115 km - Special: 117 km - Connection: 232 km Total: 464 km Bike: Thierry Bethys (FRA -- Honda -- 5th) It's already a really special stage with a lot of sand. I attacked well and enjoyed...

Lisboa to Portimão
Saturday January 6, 2007
Connection: 115 km - Special: 117 km - Connection: 232 km
Total: 464 km

Bike:

Thierry Bethys (FRA -- Honda -- 5th)
It's already a really special stage with a lot of sand. I attacked well and enjoyed myself. It was still very technical and it wasn't easy to overtake all the other competitors. Physically, it's the kind of special section that already leaves you tired; it was tough.

Marc Coma (ESP -- KTM Repsol -- 13th)
The reverse order makes things much more difficult, since we have to overtake the others. What's more, the route was very technical, so I preferred to be careful and take it easy. The bike is working well, but we will need time to adapt and really get the bit between our teeth.

Cyril Despres (FRA -- KTM Gauloises -- 10th)
The conditions were very special for those who came in last: the terrain is damaged by the previous riders, so the sand is a lot looser and the bikes eat up the fuel. We used 22 litres over 100 km, whereas in Mauritania, we use around 16 litres! That's why I slowed down at the end. I didn't want to run out of petrol. The route was nice, but it was more like a motocross track. A good introduction, I guess.

David Casteu (FRA -- KTM Gauloises -- 3rd)
I almost lost my overalls. I was attacking hard when I collided with another rider who was on the side coming back onto the track. He didn't see me coming and I didn't see him either. The crash was quite impressive, but fortunately, neither of us was hurt, just a sore shoulder. It's a shame, because my time was a very good effort if you take the accident into consideration. In any case, it is already a really extraordinary special stage.

Ruben Faria (POR -- KTM -- winner of the special stage)
I decided to go for all out attack, because I knew that today was my day to win the stage. I had petrol problems at the end, and I reckon I could have ridden even faster. It was a very different route from last year: there was much more sand and I really like that. But it was exhausting: I had to overtake at least 80 other competitors!

Car:

Luc Alphand (FRA -- Mitsubishi)
We had a flat tire around forty kilometres into the race. On such a small course, that's very costly. The day was difficult and it's a bit of a shame to start like that. But it's just the first day and there is still a long way to go before Dakar.

Mark Miller (USA -- VW -- 4th)
It's been a pretty good day for me. After ten kilometres, we knew that the race had started. The stage was great, a good test for the desert. I even started thinking about adjustments to be made. I'm used to crowds on the Mexican Bajas, but I've never seen as many people as there was today by the side of the tracks.

Carlos Sainz (ESP -- VW -- 3rd)
There was loads of sand, on a very narrow track. This meant it was difficult to get past the riders, but everything is fine.

Giniel De Villiers (AFS -- VW -- 2nd)
It was more difficult than I had thought. It was a real trap, narrow, with a lot of stumps and increasingly slippery. We jumped about quite a bit. But we ran a tidy race and the car is working very well: in that type of sand, you have to have a good engine and great suspension.

Carlos Sousa (POR -- VW -- Winner of the special stage)
It's thanks to the public that I won. I did it for them. In theory, on this type of stage you mustn't play the fool, otherwise you risk losing everything. But I really wanted to win this for them -- it was amazing to see so many people. The car is in top form. The stage was very technical and definitely not a sprint. It was essential to maintain the right trajectory. I've already driven on these tracks, in a Baja in 1998, but the area has changed.

Truck:

Gerard De Rooy (HOL - GINAF -- Winner of the special stage)
At last I'm back on the Dakar. I'm very happy. And what's more, I've managed the best time. It was quite a crazy day. First of all, I managed to get past a Kamaz truck but this route is very narrow and there were a lot of people. For the trucks behind us, it's going to get worse and worse with this sand. The truck is working perfectly and we made the difference thanks to our power and suspension. It's a good test.

Vladimir Chagin (RUS - KAMAZ -- 3rd)
Yesterday, I was able to enjoy my birthday, which is rare. Usually, I'm always in the middle of a race. But today was a day for concentrating again and getting down to work. It was a good day. I didn't have any major problems even if I slightly damaged the truck's right wing. In any case, the Kamaz machines are well-suited to sand.

-credit: dakar.com

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Mark Miller , Carlos Sainz , Luc Alphand , Carlos Sousa , Cyril Despres , Marc Coma , Vladimir Chagin , David Casteu , Ruben Faria , Thierry Bethys