Dakar: Gauloises Racing stage one report

Victory on the first special of the 2007 Dakar went to local man Ruben Faria ahead of compatriot Helder Rodrigues (at 0'16) with Isidre Esteve (Gauloises KTM) third (at 5'00). Isidre's team mate David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) was fourth (at 5'07)...

Victory on the first special of the 2007 Dakar went to local man Ruben Faria ahead of compatriot Helder Rodrigues (at 0'16) with Isidre Esteve (Gauloises KTM) third (at 5'00). Isidre's team mate David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) was fourth (at 5'07) with Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) 10th (at 7'26) and the fourth member of the team Frans Verhoeven 11th (at 7'28). Last year's winner, Marc Coma, was 13th (at 7'42).

Isidre Esteve (Gauloises KTM) 3rd (at 5'00)
"I fell off on a fast corner and then just three corners from the end I stalled the bike and took at least a minute to start the engine again. Apart from that it was a good warm up -- you just had to be careful overtaking the amateurs -- there was a lot of traffic."

David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) 4th (at 5'07)
"An amateur rider went off the track into the crowd and came back on again without looking and I hit him with my hand guard. I hurt my shoulder a little and ripped by trousers but was OK, but I think the other rider suffered a bit more. I stopped to ask if he was alright but then continued as there were lots of spectators with him. It was a physical special and I think some of the privateers will suffer."

Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) 10th (at 7'26)
"I was really worried as I had virtually no petrol left at the end. The bike 'drank' 21 litres in 100 kilometres -- even in the dunes in Africa we never consume more than 18 litres -- the sand was really soft. Apart from that it was a nice special -- you just had to be very careful overtaking the privateers."

Frans Verhoeven (Gauloises KTM) 11th (at 7'28)
"For a first European special that was pretty tough. The going was really technical and in 117 kilometres you could only sit down for 2 of them. The track was just wide enough for a car and you couldn't really cut the course as it was risky to go off the track to overtake."

Tomorrow the competitors have a last European special of 67 kilometres before heading to Malaga to catch the ferry for Africa.

-credit: gauloises racing

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Cyril Despres , Marc Coma , David Casteu , Frans Verhoeven , Helder Rodrigues , Ruben Faria