Stage 1 Saturday 3 January 2009 Buenos Aires to Santa Rosa de la Pampa Connection 196 km Special 371 km Connection 166 km BIKE: Marc Coma (Esp -- 2 -- KTM) - 002 The winner in 2006 gave a masterful showing for this first special. Benefiting...
Saturday 3 January 2009
Buenos Aires to Santa Rosa de la Pampa
Connection 196 km
Special 371 km
Connection 166 km
Marc Coma (Esp -- 2 -- KTM) - 002
The winner in 2006 gave a masterful showing for this first special. Benefiting from his rivals' problems, he is already the main favorite for overall victory.
"The problem with this special was the distance. I paced myself cautiously, waiting for the moment, on an unusual stage. On this route, there was little work to do with the bike, so I tried to ride my race to avoid problems. What has happened to the others could also happen to me. I saw that Despres had problems with his back wheel after filling up at CP2. After that, I tried to open up the gap..."
Cyril Despres (Fra -- 1 -- KTM) - 001
The title holder suffered problems with his rear wheel, relegating him to 41' behind his rival Marc Coma.
"The inner tube burst because I got a gash in the tire. As a result, there was no point putting a new inner tube in. If the tire is okay, you can do it, but in this case there was no way of repairing it. So there you have it. What I would have liked is to have had a quieter start to the Dakar. But this morning it was freezing and this afternoon it was too hot..."
David Casteu (Fra -- 3 -- KTM) - 003
Third-placed in 2007, David Casteu started this Dakar with the highest of hopes. A flat rear tire has perhaps deflated his dreams of glory.
"I've ridden a lot of rallies. I don't think I deserved that. I give my all for a sport that I love... This morning, I set off with a knot in my stomach. You have to be careful, but it's difficult to keep telling yourself, 'attack, don't attack, attack, don't attack'... I felt that things were going wrong after 100 km. I just wanted to get to the refueling stop.
I should have stopped and as a result, I completely burst my tire. Once I put a new inner tube in, the tire burst it straight away. Fortunately, I've got good team-mates behind me, so I was able to repair the wheel. I hope they will be able to finish.
I won the Pharaohs rally with a lead of 1.30. Today, a rally-raid comes down to a matter of minutes. I lost in Tunisia, over 3,000 kilometers, just 40 seconds behind Isidre Esteve. But this time the gap is a matter of several minutes, even an hour! When you have a day like that, you just lose faith. You just lose faith, so I thought of my family, who have made a lot of sacrifices for this".
Carlos Sainz (Esp -- 301 -- Volkswagen) - 301
The Spanish driver finished second on today's stage, 2.17 behind winner Nasser Al Attiyah at the end of a fast and dusty special.
"After 110 km, already I was catching up with the bikes. It was difficult to overtake and rely solely on the Sentinel system, because of the dust. All I saw was dust for 250 kilometers. There was so much that I didn't even see the Pampa..."
Nasser Al Attiyah (Qat - 302 - BMW) - 302
The Qatari driver has won the first special stage of the Dakar in 2009. Without pushing his talent to the limit, he already has a slight advantage over Carlos Sainz, and is more confident than ever about his chances for victory.
"We came here to win, so of course I'm delighted to start with a stage victory. It was a fairly easy route, but still quite fast. However, it didn't feel like I had to push it to the limit during the race. I wanted to control my speed, especially in the part where we overtook plenty of bikes, because there was a lot of dust. It was a satisfying day, because I see that I've finished 2.17 in front of Carlos Sainz. This proves that the car, which is totally different from last year, with a new chassis, is performing excellently. Unfortunately, there is good news but also bad news for the team, since Guerlain Chicherit rolled his car. I hope he'll be able to carry on - it won't be the same without him... But that's life on a rally-raid....
Orlando Terranova (Arg -- 315 -- BMW) - 315
Orlando Terranova finished in seventh place 5.09 behind Qatari Nasser Al Attiyah. He was the best placed of the South American drivers on this special stage.
"After 100 km, I caught up with Christian Lavieille, but it was almost impossible to overtake him. Around the 200 kilometer mark the dust was everywhere. There was everything to lose and nothing to gain in that sort of situation. After the clouds of dust, our bonnet started to pop up, so we decided to take it easy on the way to Santa Rosa. There were quite a few cars stopped by the side of the road. Some of them set off before us this morning. All in all, I'm very happy with this first stage".
Gerard De Rooy (Hol -- 505 -- GINAF) - 505
The Dutch driver kicked off the rally with a second-place finish on the day's stage, which he found very stressful.
"It was a really stressful stage, because there was lots of dust and overtaking was difficult. I would have preferred to start with a shorter stage".