The unfavorable mud fight is finally over Whichever face one looked at all drivers seemed more than glad to have safely made it through the heavy mud of today's 2nd stage. Nobody likes these short and wet European winter tracks where nothing can...
The unfavorable mud fight is finally over
Whichever face one looked at all drivers seemed more than glad to have safely made it through the heavy mud of today's 2nd stage. Nobody likes these short and wet European winter tracks where nothing can be won, but so much can be lost.
Therefore, neither of the KTM team riders was really worried when a French private rider won the 25 kilometers loop stage near Narbonne. David Fretigne was this lucky person. On his Yamaha he was able to fulfill his dream to claim the victory of a Dakar stage. He clocked a time of 22'47 minutes.
Guiliano Cecconi, head of the Gauloises KTM International team, outlines the tactic of the KTM-teams: "In Europe we ride for the spectators and fans which cheer for us when we are in Africa. Here one cannot win so much. Therefore: no risk!"
And the riders clung to that. However, the gaps in between their arrivals were a bit surprising. While Cyril Despres lost only 15 seconds to the leader it took Nani Roma about another minute longer to finish the course. The Spaniard after the race: "I drove with special care. I do not like the slippery ground so much. It is my goal to finish the whole race. I want to finally reach Dakar. That's what I'm yearning for most. Therefore, I did not risk so much today."
Alfie Cox, the fellow from sunny South Africa, is longing for the same thing: "I just wanted to safely get through this special. The weather was simply terrible. Nothing I prefer. Just a few days ago I could still enjoy a 35 °C temperature!" Spot 9 for him today.
Paul Krause and Fabrizio Meoni were acting especially careful as well. Their KTM 950 Rally bikes have too much power for these tracks, but will surely display its strengths on a different terrain.
For the numerous Frenchmen along the course it was about time to say 'good bye' to the rally crews. The 595 vehicles, 195 motorcycles among them, are expected to reach Castellón at the Spanish Mediterranean coast by late afternoon.
Tomorrow's special is only 9 kilometers long. Afterwards a strenuous program awaits the drivers. At first they need to finish the 852 kilometers on their bikes. At Algreciras, the stopover, they transfer onto the ferry to the Moroccan Tangar. From its harbor a 13 kilometers liaison takes them to the first bivouac on African soil.