Dakar: Repsol teams stage 14 report

The rally enters Senegal without any changes in the leadership Despres and Peterhansel still in the lead. Coma defends his second place and Roma finishes the stage fourth fastest Senegal received the Dakar with a stage between Kayes and ...

The rally enters Senegal without any changes in the leadership

Despres and Peterhansel still in the lead. Coma defends his second place and Roma finishes the stage fourth fastest

Senegal received the Dakar with a stage between Kayes and Tambacounda marked by the peculiar features of the terrain, very different to that of Mauritania. Single-sense laterite roads, broken by the rain and with a lot of suspended dust as the riders passed by. Considering the conditions it was already expected that there would be no big changes in the overall standings. The winner of the bike special was Brazilian rider Jean de Azevedo. Marc Coma finished fifth, ahead of Isidre Esteve. The Spanish rider managed to make up two minutes on Cyril Despres, who finished seventh. Sala was eighth. Despres, Coma, Cox and Esteve are in the top four positions with only one really significant stage left that will take the riders from Tambacounda to Dakar.

Winner of the car class was Ari Vatanen from Finland, and Jutta Kleinschmidt, despite suffering some problems managed to consolidate her third place in the overall standings behind Peterhansel and Alphand who drove very carefully throughout the day. Outstanding result for Nani Roma, who finished fourth and keeps his sixth place in the overall standings.

Penultimate stage tomorrow, with a 344-km special on sandier terrain, with more navigation and wider routes than those of today.

Marc Coma: "The stage has been very long. Laterite, a lot of dust and broken tracks due to the rain. We finished a bit tired because we needed to concentrate a lot. Dangers were not very well indicated in the road book. Change of scenery for tomorrow, more sand, more navigation, wider spaces and if Despres does a good job, it will be impossible to take the victory away from him; but while there's a race there's a way.

Isidre Esteve: "When I started this morning there was no wind at all and the dust remained suspended. You could hardly see anything and I knew that it would be very difficult. We found a lot of bumps that were not marked in the road book. We were riding very concentrated and we're really tired. Our aim is to see what happens tomorrow and secure a place on the podium ".

Giovanni Sala: "It's been a strange day, with a fast track, trees really close and you couldn't see the animals crossing the track without stopping. We've seen cows, donkeys and even monkeys in the trees, very close to the bikes. I've been just about to crash in an area with water and after the refuelling I fell slightly and lost some time fixing the bike. The big aim is now to reach Dakar without major problems ".

Jordi Arcarons: "There was not much to do in today's stage. There was a lot of suspended dust on laterite roads, typical for black Africa. The riders did what they could but starting from the back, as they did today, it was very difficult to recover minutes. They actually did, but not enough. Isidre has had more problems than Marc because he had no visibility. He risked a lot but he could not risk leaving the track and hitting an animal. The stage tomorrow will be different, with parallel tracks, changes of sense and a more open route. There's nothing decided yet and it will probably be the key day of this edition of the Dakar.

Nani Roma: "Dakar is closer, but there's still a lot of work left to do: It's important to be concentrated these final days because you tend to think that everything is done and it really isn't. Today has been a very dusty stage. Fast track in the beginning. More technical in the middle and fast in the end. Tomorrow will be more complicated with sandier tracks, village crossings and more navigation. It is theoretically easier on paper but not in practice. I'm surprised how fast the year has passed. I remember when I was here with the bike trying to win and I made it. Now I'm here in a car and very happy about how things have worked out

Stephane Peterhansel: "I am happy to be here. We made the necessary precautions with the snorkel for the river crossing and controlled the stage today. The Nissans passed us and we drove slowly to the end of the stage. Tomorrow is not a long day. I know the stage well and hopefully it will not be a problem."

Luc Alphand: "We feel confident. We changed the pace and took it easy today. On the sports side I cannot take 25 minutes out of Stephane, so we have to manage both cars to reach the finish for Mitsubishi. Today was like a Tour de France stage. We were protecting the leader in the 'yellow jersey' and the others were playing around. Vatanen and De Villiers passed us early, but we managed the car well without problems".


Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Luc Alphand , Stéphane Peterhansel , Ari Vatanen , Cyril Despres , Giovanni Sala , Nani Roma , Marc Coma , Jordi Arcarons , Jean de Azevedo