Dakar: KTM stage 1 report

Splendid introduction between fans and snow flakes "It was absolute fun today. It was like a show-off for the audience. But I didn't risk to much. The race is only starting." Obviously most of the drivers agreed with Nani Roma. They enjoyed the...

Splendid introduction between fans and snow flakes

"It was absolute fun today. It was like a show-off for the audience. But I didn't risk to much. The race is only starting." Obviously most of the drivers agreed with Nani Roma. They enjoyed the masses of visitors at the side of the tracks and watched out closely for any unlucky mistakes that could have happened on this traditionally short introduction piece.

On a KTM motorcycle the Italian private driver Matteo Graziani won the snow invested introduction the the 26th edition of the Dakar rally. This feeling of triumph will surely last him a life time. Correctly, this special was a short one. But it was long enough to leave Cyril Despres and the three-time rally-champion Richard Sainct (both Team Gauloises KTM France) behind. For that he can be very proud indeed.

All of the other 11 KTM team-riders finished only seconds apart behind Graziani. Their placements set tomorrows starting order in Narbonne.

All three KTM team managers showed relief at the finish line. Jordi Arcarons from Team Repsol KTM Spain: "The prologue was surely a spectacle for the visitors. But for us it was more important not to take any risks. We can live with the results which make up tomorrows starting order." Team manager Gilles Salvador (Team Gauloises KTM France) and Guiliano Cecconi (Team Gauloises KTM International) are equally glad that their protégés did not take any risks today.

The introduction has been made. Already the thoughts are directed forward towards Africa. Experienced rally-rider Fabrizio Meoni says moderately: "This year the race is tougher on me than before. I've got a daughter waiting at home. She is only 10 months old. Oh well, I don't have any illusions. I get older and there are many top riders here this year which are able to decide the race for themselves."

Alfie Cox has an equal view of things. "It gets harder and harder in the motorcycle category. It's not just the close competition between our team riders. There is also competition between the private drivers and the team drivers. Each were equipped by KTM with the same material. I hope, that I can keep up with the best for the whole race. We will see about anything further."

Isidre Esteve is looking forward to tomorrows stage. "It is similar to the tracks I practise on at home in Spain. Therefore, I can go the the limits." For that it would need to stop snowing. At the moment the winter starts at the South of France. This will bring on droplets of sweat to the forheads of many private drivers on the 400 kilometers liaison to Narbonne. And the organizational staff awaits unknown work. Until tomorrow morning they will need to clear ice and snow from the 25 kilometers special.

-ktm-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Fabrizio Meoni , Cyril Despres , Alfie Cox , Richard Sainct , Nani Roma , Jordi Arcarons