Stage 1: Lisbon to Portimao December 31, 2005 Connection 186 km - Special 83 km - Connection 101 km Total 370 km Bike: Marc Coma (N2 - KTM Repsol -- 3Ã¨me) : "This first stage was quite difficult because of the strong rains of the past three...
Stage 1: Lisbon to Portimao
December 31, 2005
Connection 186 km - Special 83 km - Connection 101 km
Total 370 km
Marc Coma (N2 - KTM Repsol -- 3ème) :
"This first stage was quite difficult because of the strong rains of the past three days. We had some problems of grip. I tried not to take too many risks. So I'm very happy of this result. The motorbike is quite comfortable to ride, I had some very good feelings. Actually, I am very confident about my bike for the end of the race."
Cyril Despres (KTM Gauloises -- 1st)
"At last we have started after eleven months of a long wait. Today we have had a real stage of 80 km and things went on quite well for me even if these first kilometres were not easy. I had to get used to the alarm which warns you when you are over 150 km/h. I was not absolutely focused on winning the stage since I though the Portuguese would be the fastest here. But I feel at ease on the bike. KTM has made a very good job. But for me, it is quite a surprise to finish first."
Ruben Faria (POR - KTM -- 2nd)
"I was so happy to see all these people along the road which I know pretty well because I live here in the Algarve area. I couldn't have better dreams (...) I had already competed against Cyril Despres in Portugal, he is so strong, I'll be far away from him as soon as Morocco. So I had great fun today. Even if I didn't want to take risks, I had a good feeling on my motorbike, I drove fast. I still have the goal to reach Dakar without any big problem (...) The dream comes true. Yesterday, I was almost crying while sitting close to Peterhansel during a briefing in Lisbon".
David Fretigne (FRA - YAM -- 6th)
"This first special was great fun to race. I started a little bit too fast and I calmed down later. There were so much people along the road that I felt like riding on the Tour de France, it was really impressive, I was just looking around me while riding. Therefore the race remained dangerous for technical reasons and mud. Sometimes I just couldn't see the road and it made it difficult to overtake other competitors. I had to be careful".
Helder Rodrigues (POR - KTM -- 4th)
"I'm very happy since I hadn't tested the bike. It was finished last week since two month ago I didn't know I would do the Dakar. And it is a perfect bike. I felt very early that things were going on well for me because I overtook at least fifty riders. I was very enthusiastic but I remained focused until the end. And tomorrow, I will start in a good position".
Carlos Sainz (SPA -- VW- 1st)
"It was quite a complicated stage, with a lot of mud and many problems with grip. But it was good. My goal today was not to do everything to win the stage. I didn't want to take too many risks only for a victory on a stage. My final goal remains to finish the rally. Added to that, the car seems to be very competitive".
Carlos Sousa (Por -- Nissan -- 2nd)
"It's been a wonderful stage, except for two little mistakes. In the first kilometres, it was difficult for me to find the good rhythm. It explains the gap with Carlos Sainz. Anyway, I have always said that these two first stages were made for Carlos. I am very happy because the crowd was huge today. Maybe it pushed me to attack a bit more than I should have. But it was a very exciting feeling to drive among all my fans. I told it to Jean-Marie (Lurquin, co-driver) during the stage: I really experienced a good moment today."
Bruno Saby ( FRA-- VW -- 3rd)
"It was a real stage, very different from the usual little prologues. I had to be very focused, since the road kept on changing and was sometimes very slippery. We quickly caught up Peterhansel who probably punctured but we stayed behind him to avoid his dust. He is definitely the man to kep an eye on in the rally and that's what we did today. The most important was to make as little mistakes as possible, so we are satisfied with this first stage. Carlos' first place is not a real surprise since we knew that he could be very fast on these roads that he perfectly knows. And it also means that he has perfectly understood everything about rally-raids and that the car works very well. It is good news for team."
Jutta Kleinschmidt (GER -- VW -- 4th)
"It has been a good stage for us. The main thing today was to find the good speed. I didn't want to take too many risks because giving up in Europe would be a catastrophe. I finished 4th today. It is a perfect result. The stage was quite difficult since the grip kept changing. We have been quite lucky compared to the Mitsubishi who seem to have punctured several times. Actually, we all are close to each other, and I think the race will be very tight in Africa. What's more, I have been very impressed by the crowd on the stage; In fact, it was a very beautiful stage".
Guerlain Chicherit (FRA -- BMW -- 5th)
"It's been a wonderful stage, but full of traps. That's why we started the stage at a cool pace, without taking to many risks, to be in the top 15 at the finish. But we soon overtook five cars and finally finished fifth. It's a great result since we had never tested the car against the others. But we don't know how the others were driving today. Anyway, we'll stay cool. It is still a long way to Dakar."
Vladimir Tchaguine (RUS -- KAM - 1st)
"Today's stage was great, a traditional race for a rally raid. I enjoyed the race along with Miki (Biasion) and Marku (Alen). Everything was fine, well organised and people could watch the race without any problem. That's a very good start for the Dakar. As for our truck, we finished first and this is a good way to close up the year 2005. We are going to celebrate all that".
Miki Biasion (ITA -- IVECO -- 2nd)
"It was a very difficult stage. The road was very narrow and we could almost touch the trees on each side. It was also very physically demanding with these numerous u-turns. It was the first time I drove my new truck since I only tested it on a fifteen kilometres course a few days before the race. So I am very happy with this performance, even if we still have many things to fix, especially on the suspension. (...) There were so many people who came to watch the stage that it reminded me of the WRC, even if there must have been far less people for the trucks than for the cars or the bikes".
Andre De Azevedo (BRA -- TAT - 3rd)
"I had no problem with the mud today because I trained in the same conditions a few weeks ago in Brazil. Therefore I could really enjoy this stage. I was also very happy to team up with my former navigator. We communicated very well. What surprised me the most during this special was to see so many people along the road. Since it's very unusual in rally raid, that was a good feeling for me even if it was pretty dangerous sometimes with the mud".