Dakar: Gauloises Racing stage 8 report

In the bike class difficult navigation caused big changes to the rankings with yesterday's overall leader Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) in particular losing huge amounts of time on the special. In the end it was the Spaniard Nani Roma who won,...

In the bike class difficult navigation caused big changes to the rankings with yesterday's overall leader Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) in particular losing huge amounts of time on the special.

In the end it was the Spaniard Nani Roma who won, 6'02 ahead of Jean Brucy (Gauloises KTM) with Richard Sainct (Gauloises KTM) third (at 7'58). Overall Roma leads by 8'16 over Sainct with Brucy third (at 14'25). Alfie Cox is 4th overall (at 51'19) with Despres back in 7th (at 1h11'16) and Meoni 12th (at 2h09'5).

Richard Sainct (Gauloises KTM France) 3rd (at 7'58) 2nd overall (at 8'16)

"The navigation was extremely difficult -- is clear that Patrick Zaniroli (the race director) has intentionally limited the number of way points to 'animate' the race. The first GPS point wasn't until 120 km, but before that you had to find your way out of a oued at km 40 -- I reckon that that is where a lot of them got lost. I knew it was going to be hard to follow the route today so I set off very gently and concentrated on my road book. Twice I went back just to make sure I had got it right. Hopefully the navigation will continue to feature heavily in this rallye and allow those who lost time today to make it up over the rest of the race."

Jean Brucy (Gauloises KTM France) 2nd (at 6'02) 3rd overall (at 14'25)

"I started second and fortunately I could see Richard's tracks ahead of me -- they were a big help because the first oued we went through was really tricky. At one point I rode for 100 km on my own and was astonished that nobody caught me up as I was taking my time. If today was half the distance of yesterday, it was twice as hard."

Alfie Cox (Gauloises KTM International) 19th (at 49'21) 4th overall (at 51'19)

"What a disastrous day. As the navigation was really difficult so I decided to follow Fabrizio Meoni -- there must have been five or six of us on his tail. Normally he never makes a mistake but this time he made a huge one -- we were completely lost. At one point I came across Cyril with a broken GPS -- he's going to lose a load of time."

Fabrizio Meoni (Gauloises KTM International) 5th (at 25'51) 12th overall (at 2h09'05)

"It was a good special with a lot of navigation -- it is just a pity I made a mistake! Two things caused me problems. The first was that I didn't study my road book well enough last night and I only have myself to blame for that. The other problem was that my trip master broke three times and because of that I got lost in a oued. Unfortunately for them a lot of other riders decided to follow me: Alfie (Cox), Fretigne, Graziani, Flick -- I had a bus full behind me!"

Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM France) 24th (at 1h14'19) 7th overall (at 1h11'16)

"This has been the worst day of my life. At km 15 I fell at slow speed and my knee ripped off the GPS connection. I should have stopped and repaired it probably but instead I kept on half fixing it. Then I kept on coming across other riders and following them rather than finding my own way. Each time they took me in the wrong direction. I went round in circles for 50 km and ran out of petrol 1,2 km from the refuelling CP. In the three years since I have been racing rallye raid I have learnt a few things but today I learnt a book's worth. It was entirely my own fault and I accept the blame. Now all I can hope that there are more day's like today and I get a chance to make amends."

CARS

Jean Louis Schlesser (Gauloises Schlesser Buggy) 4th (at 53'20) 4th overall (at 1h29'42)

"At km 40 the piste disappeared into the stones. We thought we'd found the right track but eventually realised we were wrong and were forced to turn back. There were cars driving around all over the place. Eventually everybody got on the right track and went charging off -- we overtook a load of them punctured in the stones further on and then we had a puncture ourselves. The road book was maybe not as clear as it might have been, and we might have lost time trying to find the right way, but I am 200% for the increased element of navigation that Zaniroli has introduced this year."

-gr-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Jean-Louis Schlesser , Jean Brucy , Fabrizio Meoni , Cyril Despres , Alfie Cox , Richard Sainct , Nani Roma