In the bikes it was 'first on the road' Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) who won the special 5'47 ahead of Coma, with Roma third, Alfie Cox (Gauloises KTM) fourth (at 11'57) and Richard Sainct (Gauloises KTM) seventh (at 17'58). Although Sainct ...
In the bikes it was 'first on the road' Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) who won the special 5'47 ahead of Coma, with Roma third, Alfie Cox (Gauloises KTM) fourth (at 11'57) and Richard Sainct (Gauloises KTM) seventh (at 17'58).
Although Sainct loses ground to Roma and Despres gains on Cox, the overall positions remain unchanged with Sainct 2nd at 10'06, Cox 3rd (at 28'53) and Despres 4th (at 33'29).
Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM France) 1st (in 1h43'13) 4th overall (at 33'29)
"I didn't choose to open the piste today, it was just that I happened to win the Nema special before the two cancelled stages. Still at least I didn't have any dust in front of me and given that I decided to make the most of it. I'm not sure if tactically it was a good idea to win here, before tomorrow's long stage, but in my situation I think it is better to concentrate on gaining time anywhere I can. Tomorrow it is going to be hard work opening, but in the past I have discovered that with no tracks ahead of me I can stay focused and ride my own race pretty well."
Alfie Cox (Gauloises KTM International) 4th (at 11'57) 3rd overall (at 28'53)
"That wasn't much of a special, there was stuff not marked on the road book and the distances were out. Apparently it was because the organisers did the road book in the wet season. "
"I could smell Cyril's dust until the last 50 km and then nothing -- he must have been riding really hard. Although he has taken time off me today, if I catch him tomorrow I can take it off him again. I'm glad it isn't me opening tomorrow and I don't think some of the others were very keen on the idea either."
Richard Sainct (Gauloises KTM France) 7th (at 17'58) 2nd overall (at 10'06)
"About 40 km from the end the seat fell off and I had to ride the rest of the special sitting down, which wasn't very comfortable and meant that I had to back off. The others came up behind me but didn't over take me and the result is that I lose valuable time on Roma. You could say I'm not exactly delighted with how the day turned out."
Fabrizio Meoni (Gauloises KTM International) 8th (at 18'20) 11th overall (at 2h49'31)
"For me rallye-raids should be run in the desert, not here. There's too much dust and too many animals running around for me."
Miran Stanovnik (Gauloises KTM Privateer) 24th overall (at 30'52) 17th overall (at 4h47'49)
"A perfect stage, no dust 20 degrees in the shade. No sorry that was a dream -- the reality was more like a nightmare -- hot, dusty and frustrating! I had one of the organisers' cameras on my helmet and when they showed me the images you couldn't see a thing -- except when I ran off the track and into some bushes -- then you could see some vegetation very close up. I might not be in the lead but I think nobody has done as many kilometres as me with a camera -- at the moment I'm up to 2400 km."
Mame Less Diallo (Gauloises KTM Privateer) 59th (at 57'29) 56th overall 21h54'48)
"Now that we are in Black Africa the local press and television is taking a big interest in me. Of course I'm delighted but it does add a bit of pressure!"
Jean Louis Schlesser (Gauloises Schlesser Buggy) 2nd (at 1'28) 3rd overall (at 2h18'16)
"The problem was that those at the front were driving tactically and blocked us in the dust. Jutta graciously let us past and then we came up behind Peterhansel and Masuoka while Alphand had a free run. The special itself though was good and well suited to our car. Tomorrow sees the start of three tough days -- I'm looking forward to it!"
Jean Pierre Strugo (Gauloises Mercedes) 19th (at 33'34) 15th overall (at 14h07'15)
"A dusty little post-rest day warm up special before three big days -- that is how I would describe today. We got blocked in the trucks' dust which was frustrating, but I suppose it was the same for everyone so I shouldn't complain."
Gerardus De Rooy (Gauloises De Rooy) 3rd (at 4 '48) 4th overall (at 1h51'21)
"It was very frustrating today on the narrow tracks in the dust. We tried to overtake Tchaguine several times but every time we came alongside us he 'shut the door'."