On the bikes it was Fabrizio Meoni (Gauloises KTM) who won his second special of the rallye 0'46 ahead of Richard Sainct (Gauloises KTM) with Roma third (at 3'19), Alfie Cox (Gauloises KTM) fourth (at 6'48) and Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) fifth...
On the bikes it was Fabrizio Meoni (Gauloises KTM) who won his second special of the rallye 0'46 ahead of Richard Sainct (Gauloises KTM) with Roma third (at 3'19), Alfie Cox (Gauloises KTM) fourth (at 6'48) and Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) fifth (at 8'23). Overall no changes, though Sainct closes the gap on Roma to 7'07, while Cox (at 47'12) moves nearer to Despres (at 46'29).
Fabrizio Meoni (Gauloises KTM International) 1st (in 6h55'46) 6th overall (at 3h03'38)
"The first kilometres were enduro and then I caught them in the camel grass. After refuelling it was very fast but I stayed behind 'cos of the dust. It is good to win a special after so many disappointments."
Richard Sainct (Gauloises KTM France) 2nd (at 0'46) 2nd overall (at 7'07)
"The first part was difficult, due to all the rain that has fallen recently, with big truck ruts. Then we had a really bad 80 km section of camel grass. After refuelling it was flat out and I tried, without much success, to pull away. Given that we are all on the same bikes, and that there was no real navigation today, there wasn't much I could do to pull back time on Roma and now it is looking very good for him. Tomorrow there is no GPS, but I don't think that will make much difference. Roma will start 2 minutes behind me and will be able to follow my dust, catch me up and mark me -- that is what I'd do in his situation. He just has to stay with me and he wins the Dakar. I don't plan on holding his hand all the way to Lac Rose but it is going to difficult to get away from him."
Alfie Cox (Gauloises KTM International) 4th (at 6'48) 4th overall (at 47'12)
"If the refuelling hadn't been so far away from the start (330 km) we would have been able to race, but as it was we had to ride through the soft sand like tourists to make sure we didn't run out of petrol. At one point Fretigne caught us up and the pace increased, but then he crashed in the camel grass and it was back to 'business as usual'. Then after refuelling it was flat out to the finish -- just a waste of a day really. Tomorrow Cyril will try and mark me, to keep his third place overall, and it isn't going to be easy to shake him off."
Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM France) 5th (at 8'23) 3rd overall (at 46'29)
"I opened the piste but didn't try making a run for it as I knew they would catch me in the camel grass. Then after refuelling Richard tried to make a break for it, but given the going, couldn't get away. It isn't finished until we get across the finishing line -- just ask Peterhansel (the Frenchman broke down on the last special of last year) but it is difficult to see how the positions can change now. My current third place is as a result of two big mistakes -- effectively I 'auto-eliminated' myself from possible victory. At this level there is no margin for error and it is up me to learn from my mistakes so that I don't make them again."
Miran Stanovnik (Gauloises KTM Privateer) 16th (at 1h07'09) 15th overall (at 7h57'18)
"After today I don't ever want to see another blade of camel grass. In normal life I'm a ski instructor so my leg muscles are pretty good but they were getting pretty tired at the end. I haven't looked in the mirror but apparently my bruised eye has changed colour -- fortunately the swelling is going down."
Jean Marie Lurquin (Jean Louis' co-driver) (Gauloises Schlesser Buggy) 5th (at 32'43) 3rd overall (at 2h55'16)
"Today our job was to follow Alphand but after a while he made a mistake and we overtook him. Then we came across Peterhansel going away from the road book. Alphand followed and so we went after them. They took us into these really soft dunes. Peterhansel used his car's power to get through but Alphand and us got stuck virtually side by side. Once we'd got out we decided to go back the 5 km to the road book and round the dunes. Alphand must have forced his way through because we saw him the other side. That's twice we've followed Peterhansel and twice we've got lost. It is a pity because apart from that it was one of the nicest specials of the rallye and we could have finished second just behind Masuoka."