Stage 8 - Tan Tan to Zouerat BIKES FABRIZIO MEONI 'We were a bit concerned about the mousse in the tyres with the hot weather and the high speed, but it was okay. I rode with Roma to the first CP over the technical section and then we...
Stage 8 - Tan Tan to Zouerat
'We were a bit concerned about the mousse in the tyres with the hot weather and the high speed, but it was okay. I rode with Roma to the first CP over the technical section and then we refuelled and I used the gas to pull away. It was the best stage for the bike so far. We clocked 186 km/h at one point.'
'It was a very fast stage. I rode with Meoni early on, but he pulled away. Today was a special stage that you could easily win by a couple of two minutes by going full gas, but you could easily fall and lose the rally. I must be very conscious of this and keep a medium speed like 150 . Meoni was at 190.'
'On the sandy part I could not go more than 135 km/h. This special stage is only one secret - gas. If the bike could go at 250, we could go at 250. Erven if someone who does not ride could do this stage. The stages coming are slower, with dunes and sand, the ones I like.'
CARLO DE GAVARDO
'On the Marathon concept we have to face all kinds of weather conditions and I have no problem with that. Having said that to do the last 100 kms before arriving at the frontier was damn dangerous. From a sporting point it was the day of my friend Meoni, to get an advantage of 7m was a great performance. For me, I tried to stay by Nani. He has the same bike as me. I believe that when I said it is dangerous, it's okay for us, but for the riders at the back of the field, who do not know the Dakar, it is dangerous. They are gone crazy.'
'Not that difficult today. Very fast. I had a good sleep and I don't feel too tired. Tomorrow will be the most difficult stage on the rally so far. It is time for my attack.'
GREGOIRE DE MEVIUS
'At the end of the special stage, I gave in my time card and the engine stopped. It would not run and wouldn't restart. We were able to leave the control by pushing the car. I spent some time to get it going and will incur a penalty. The car ran well in the stage, but the race is still young. Peterhansel had his problems yesterday and it was our turn to have problems today. The most important thing is the car has a good chassis and is competitive. Now we must work on the reliability. The race is hard. I hope that our car will be competitive in the dunes and the jumps. We will work on the reliability now.'
'Over the previous two days we have had mechanical problems. The cars are new and have never run on a Dakar before. I hope that these problems are not too serious. I wait to see exactly what has happened to Gregoire. Today the stage was very fast and not very interesting.'
American Mark Miller is tackling his first Dakar as a competitor in a Lease Plan Toyota Landcruiser. The Arizona-based racer has considerable experience of enduro riding and truck racing in the United States and actually won a stage of the 1998 Atlas Rally on two wheels. He admits that the Toyota lacks the power on the faster sections (he was flat out at 146 km/h today), but is relishing the challenge of the dunes.
'Larry Raglan came here a few times without much success and he really persuaded me to have a go at this rally. We see it on Speedvision back home in the States, but to be here and sample the atmosphere is fantastic. Everyone is so friendly. I'm so impressed with the awesome logistics, the planes, the good food, it's great. I suppose this year the goal is to reach Dakar and then maybe come back next year and have a real good attack and try and win the race in a competitive car.'