Dakar: Repsol teams stage 15 report

Despres and Peterhansel, one step away from victory The penultimate stage has been raced today and the expected positions were consolidated. Coma and Esteve 2nd and 4th in bikes. Roma, sixth in cars. The penultimate stage which took the rally...

Despres and Peterhansel, one step away from victory

The penultimate stage has been raced today and the expected positions were consolidated. Coma and Esteve 2nd and 4th in bikes. Roma, sixth in cars.

The penultimate stage which took the rally from Tambacounda to Dakar after a 225-km special did not bring any change to the overall standings. Cyril Despres in bikes and Stephane Peterhansel in cars have kept their leaderships. Today's stage, which was run normally, was won by Despres and De Villiers in their respective classes. In the motorbike class, Esteve finished fourth, Sala seventh and Coma eighth. In the overall standings, Despres keeps an advantage of 9.45 over Coma, Cox is third 12.09 adrift, Esteve is fourth at 13.37 and Sala eighth at 1.35.09.

In cars, De Villiers took the victory of the stage ahead of Bruno Saby. Peterhansel finished fifth, Alphand sixth and Roma twelfth. Both French drivers of the Mitsubishi Repsol team are still leading the standings with Roma in an excellent sixth position.

Today's special was very difficult, dangerous in several sections. There were a lot of people and animals on the road, forcing riders and drivers to be especially careful. The participants found themselves also faced with several crossings forcing them to follow exactly the indications of the road book.

The rally will have its last stage tomorrow with 31 km raced around Lake Rose.

Marc Coma: "These days after Meoni's death are being really hard. The important thing is having arrived here in Dakar and finish well tomorrow. I knew that it would be very difficult to make-up time with regard to Despres in such a short stage. Recovering three minutes opening the throttle is almost impossible if the bike of your rival doesn't have a breakdown. We've spent the stage checking each other and that's basically it. We'd have immediately agreed in Barcelona if they would have offered us the second place. It's been a good year and crowning it like this is like a dream come true, because the team has worked perfectly well. It's a real pleasure to race with people like this".

Isidre Esteve: "It was a nice stage and I'm happy about the second place and the good performance. The route was shorter and with more navigation; that's how a Dakar stage should be. I haven't been able to recover as much time as I wanted, but there are 31 km left tomorrow and I'll try to get on the podium until the end".

Giovanni Sala: "Happy to be here, of course. Today's stage had a lot of navigation. I didn't make any mistake and it's a shame that Marc got lost in a village. Such is the Dakar and these things happen when you race under pressure. We all hope to get to the finish line without news".

Jordi Arcarons: "I knew today's stage from previous years. I tried to explain to the riders everything they would possibly find. There was a fast section, another were you could easily lose the main road and a last fast section. We left the laterite tracks behind and entered the savannah. Marc Coma knew what he had to do, ride fast and keep his eyes glued to the road book. He hasn't been able to concentrate enough and he made some mistakes that allowed Despres to get him. Things worked out well for Esteve but not enough to get Cox. It'll be difficult for him to get on the podium".

Nani Roma: "It's been a relatively easy stage. I stopped right after the start to let Peterhansel and Alphand pass and follow them throughout the stage just in case they should need anything. I followed them all day and we finished all right. I'm happy about the team's result and about my result as well, I didn't expect being sixth. The most positive of all is however, the evolution of my driving technique and not having made any mistake. You cannot ask for more the first time you race in a car. The car is obviously completely different to the bike and I've enjoyed this rally a lot".

Stephane Peterhansel: ""We did not push today and drove rather slowly. We always had one ear listening to any noises from the engine and the gearbox. Then I heard a knocking noise from the roof. Thankfully, it was only the GPS antenna working loose. It was a stressful day, just worrying in case something went wrong. Now we are on the home straight."

Luc Alphand: "It was a beautiful stage.It was technical, but it was also easy to find a good rhthym, like skiing in powdered snow".


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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Luc Alphand , Stéphane Peterhansel , Cyril Despres , Giovanni Sala , Bruno Saby , Nani Roma , Marc Coma , Jordi Arcarons