Dakar: Gauloises Racing stage four report

In the bikes victory today went to the Spaniard Isidre Esteve (Gauloises KTM) 28 seconds ahead Marc Coma and 5'15 in front of De Gavardo, with Cyril Despres fourth (at 6'50) and David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) 5th (at 15'41). The fourth member of the...

In the bikes victory today went to the Spaniard Isidre Esteve (Gauloises KTM) 28 seconds ahead Marc Coma and 5'15 in front of De Gavardo, with Cyril Despres fourth (at 6'50) and David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) 5th (at 15'41). The fourth member of the team, Michel Gau was 18th at 29'50. Overall it is Coma who takes the lead, ahead of Esteve, with Despres third (at 4'51).

Isidre Esteve (Gauloises KTM) 1st (in 4.13'01) 2nd overall (at 4'51)

"I started in 20th position this morning and it was difficult to overtake in the dust. But then once I had got past Ullevalseter and Fretigne it wasn't so much of a problem and I was able to ride at my own pace. The new bike is a pleasure to ride and I am looking forward to opening the piste with it tomorrow. If you want to win this race you have to be able to do this without losing too much time -- not more than 5 minutes."

Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) 4th (at 6'50) 3rd overall (at 5'06)

"It was a long day today -- we were up at 4.30 -- and there was quite a bit of navigation, so it wasn't easy to open the piste. The good news is that last night we got the organisers to modify the speed limit alarm. Now it beeps at 153 kph and then turns into a continues signal at 157 kph. It still isn't brilliant but it is a lot better than it was yesterday. The bike is also going better. Nothing threatened to fall off today and the suspension settings are better."

David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) 5th (at 15'41) 5th overall (at 19'35)

"I started before Isidre this morning and so waited for him to come by. I thought I would be able to tuck in behind him and get a tow but he was a man in a hurry and with the sun in our eyes and the dust their was no way I could stay with him. After refuelling I got past Fretigne and Sala and rode the rest of day on my own. I am delighted to be fifth on the special and overall."

Michel Gau (Gauloises KTM) 18th (at 29'50) 17th overall (at 40'07)

"I must be missing my regular day job (horticulturist) 'cos today I went 'gardening' twice and lost a bit of time. The fact that we were riding with the sun in our faces and that there was a lot of dust didn't make the navigation easy, plus there were a couple of tricky bits on the route where you could have easily hurt yourself."

In the cars 'new boy' Carlos Sainz won yet another special, his first in Africa, to make it three out of four. Behind him Thierry Magnaldi (Gauloises Schlesser Ford) finished second (at 2'00) with Alphand third (at 3'10). Jean Louis Schlesser (Gauloises Schlesser Ford) was 8th after starting first this morning, while Jose Maria Servia finished 9th. Overall Sainz takes back the lead 4'51 ahead of Saby, with Kleinschmidt third (at 5'09). Jean Louis Schlesser is 6th (at 9'02), Magnaldi is 10th (at 13'24) with Servia 12th (at 25'16).

Thierry Magnaldi (Gauloises Schlesser Ford) 2nd (at 2'00) 10th overall (at 13'24)

"It was a good special today and we went well. We managed to maintain a good pace, with the added bonus of not puncturing. Winning is always better, but I am pretty happy with second place. What I am more interested in at the moment is the overall and although we are 10th we are only 13'24 behind the leader."

Jean Louis Schlesser (Gauloises Schlesser Ford) 8th (at 5'32) 6th overall (at 9'02)

"We started this morning on the piste Mitsubishi use for testing, so it was no surprise they caught us pretty quickly. After that though we hardly saw anybody else for the rest of the day."

Jose Maria Servia.(Gauloises Schlesser Ford) 9th (at 6'29) 12th overall (at 25'16)

"Jean Louis and Thierry's cars are fitted with V8 engines, while ours is 'only' a V6. My orders are very clear -- to get the car to Dakar. Jean Louis told me that he doesn't mind if we lose 30 minutes a day as long as we get there. He reckons that if we do that we will finish in 5th place at Lac Rose. To me that seems a little optimistic but that is not the point. By doing our job we allow Jean Louis and Thierry to attack without having to worry too much about breaking their cars."

Simon Jean Joseph (Gauloises Mercedes) 57th (at 2.03'23) 47th overall (at 2.58'56)

"We had very bad luck today. We had a puncture just before the dunes then we got stuck for 25 minutes near CP2. Then somebody came along and ripped the door off and to cap it all our brakes went! I suppose the good news is that we didn't have too many problems with our gearbox."


Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Carlos Sainz , Jean-Louis Schlesser , José Maria Servia , Cyril Despres , Marc Coma , David Casteu , Michel Gau , Thierry Magnaldi