Dakar: KTM stage 5 report

Spanish double-victory at Morroco's heart "A heavy burden fell off me today. I'm more than happy." Jordi Arcarons, manager of the Spanish Repsol KTM Team, had a smile on his face when he walked around the bivouac in Quarzazate. Two men from his...

Spanish double-victory at Morroco's heart

"A heavy burden fell off me today. I'm more than happy." Jordi Arcarons, manager of the Spanish Repsol KTM Team, had a smile on his face when he walked around the bivouac in Quarzazate. Two men from his team decided the 5th stage among themselves. Isidre Esteve clinches the victory ahead of Nani Roma. "It was a top performance from the whole team," states Arcarons. "I explicitly include Marc Coma's performance in that as well. At the beginning of the stage he has "waited" for Nani and has helped him to work his way up to the front." At the end of the 337 kilometers special Esteve beat Roma by only 16 seconds.

Today's winner enjoyed his triumph. "Overall the course was fantastic. It had lots of sand, but also lots of rocks. And it was difficult to pass. For the longest time I was stuck behind Alfie. Only when he navigated wrongly was I able to go for it and race further on my own. What I like even better -- tomorrow I get to start from the pole position. Then I won't need to pass anyone. I'm equally proud to be leading the overalls." Isidre Esteve respectfully says about the performance of his team: "Nani has done a great job at the race. It will be a thrilling competition tomorrow."

Roma seems to think alike: "Tomorrow Isidre will again start 2 minutes before I do. That's the new regulation and I like it. Actually, I would prefer 3 minutes. I don't have any problems navigating and I perform better in the sand than I used to. Today it was difficult to overtake, but if I had to I always tried it in a sandy section."

A few more words about this new regulation at the Dakar. Up until last year the first ten competitors started one minute apart from one another. This year this has changed to two minutes. When they start now they usually can't see the cloud of dust and the track of their predecessors any longer. Now it becomes more important to navigate and find the right track.

The American KTM-riders have managed these tasks very well during these first two African stages. Larry Roeseler (25th today), "I'm satisfied. On these tracks I feel like being at home in the States."

Richard Sainct, too was content with his 8th position. "I'm glad that I did not feel the ache in my arms. The wound still leaks a little, but the doctors did a good job. I did not feel the handicap." We'll keep our fingers crossed that it stays that way.

With his stage-win Isidre Esteve widened his time gap in the overalls. He beat Fabrizio Meoni (in 3rd today) by 36 seconds and Cyril Despres (in 4th today) by 59 seconds. Nani Roma jumped up the order best. Starting in 13th position he arrived in 4th.

Andy Caldecott was the best of the private riders. He clinches a 7th place in the overalls. The Australian finished the stage in 5th spot. "At one time I navigated wrongly. Now I'm totally surprised that I finished at the top end of the standings." What a great performance. That why we chose to portray Andy Caldecott today:

Silent Heroes
The 39-year-old Australian has traveled around half of the globe to have his dream come true: The participation at the legendary Dakar rally. "With my small transportation business as only source for financial support this could not have happened," states the sympathetically man with the ponytail. "Luckily the Australian KTM has helped me to have my dream come true." For further assistance Andy Caldecott has asked the KTM Support Team to perform. They help with some advice, some repair --if asked even around the clock. "Especially for the logistical support I need to thank KTM very, very much," says the Australian. "I don't need to look after anything at all. I can just ride. And hopefully I get to do so until Dakar."

Tomorrows 6th stage is a tough piece of work for the drivers. It leads towards the Atlantic coast to Tan Tan. The special is 351 km long while the whole stage is 800 km altogether. It is a track that will not forget easily the mistakes the riders made. The stage includes high-speed and mountains in the first part which change into a rock invested track in the second part. First priority is to concentrate highly in order to avoid any dangerous crashes.

-ktm-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Fabrizio Meoni , Cyril Despres , Richard Sainct , Nani Roma , Marc Coma , Larry Roeseler , Jordi Arcarons , Andy Caldecott