Motorcycles Cyril Despres (FRA -- KTM -- Stage winner) - 002 Ten years ago, I started riding just to enjoy these kind of stages. I really took a lot of pleasure today. The tracks was varied with a lot of piloting, dunes, navigation and camel ...
Cyril Despres (FRA -- KTM -- Stage winner) - 002
Ten years ago, I started riding just to enjoy these kind of stages. I really took a lot of pleasure today. The tracks was varied with a lot of piloting, dunes, navigation and camel grass. I knew that the Dakar Rally will really start today, because on all the previous days it was simply impossible to make a difference. On this stage, I felt great at full speed. On the chott, I was maybe at 180 km/h, but I didn't follow any tracks, I rode on myself but caught Sala and Cox in the dunes. From that moment on, I rode as quickly as possible! At km 293, I overtook Meoni, then Esteve. Fabrizio told me that he would let me open the road, to have some competitors between us tomorrow. We had a laugh together, because in fact I finished second. I knew that I was going to manage a good operation for the overall standing, but really my first goal today was to take pleasure on the bike. That's what I did.Concerning the news about Jose Manuel Perez's death. It's very sad and I want to dedicate him my victory.
Fabrizio Meoni (ITA -- KTM -- 2nd of the stage) - 004
I rode as hard as I could. But the problem is that I opened the way to Cyril Despres just behind me. So, he just had to follow my tracks, and joined me during refuelling. After that, I was worried about the bib-mousse of my tires. So I let him overtake me, and tried to follow as I could. The problem is that it will be the same thing tomorrow, but without any other competitors between us.
Marc Coma (ESP -- KTM Repsol -- 5th) - 006
I started at full speed, but because of that I ran out of gasoline before CP2. Luckily, my teammate Giovanni Sala gave me two litres to make it to refuelling. I had no problem in the dunes even though it was tough. From now on, I will attack every time it'll be possible. We tried to establish a strategy with my team manager Jordi Arcarons, but the situation of the race is changing every day, so I don't know if it's really necessary to have a team strategy. If fact, we just have to ride flat out and see what happen...
Isidre Esteve Pujol (SPA -- KTM -- 3rd of the stage) - 007
It was a very good day for me, and the landscape was beautiful. I started in first position, so I had to open the way but all went well. The dune crossings were very though and you had to ride very technically. In fact the talent of the rider was more important than the shape of the bike. After CP2, we rode together with Cyril Despres and Fabrizio Meoni. We rode really, really fast, it was incredible. The second part of the race was really different. A new race began today, and I'll do my best to attack now.
David Fretigne (FRA -- Yamaha -- 4th) - 012 #Really, I'm very happy of my position, because it was again a very quick stage today. I was sometime riding at 163km/h, but I slowed down to 150km/h to take care of my engine. So, the others with their KTMs gained a lot of time, but with no problems in the dunes, I managed to come back on Sala, Caldecott and Coma. Riding the dunes is a pleasure with my two wheel drive system, and it was really easier than last week. The organisation told us that it would be a difficult stage, but I liked it, and didn't find it that hard. For the next stage, I will try to do my best, but if the course is fast I can't do anything for the overall standings. Actually, I hope to have very technical portions, to make the difference.
Stephane Peterhansel (FRA -- Mitsubishi -- Stage winner) - 306
It was a very good day. We caught Luc Alphand after only 80 kms, and then we drove more or less together until the end of the stage. Sometimes he took the lead, sometimes it was my turn, but we stopped together to change the pressure of the tires between CP1 and CP2. On the last 200 km , we preferred to follow him because of the dust . In fact, it is up to Luc to attack and not us. Jutta is half an hour behind us on this stage, so we managed a very good operation. The rest day was really welcomed, because the car needed a full check up. Now all is perfect, we just damaged the front of the car on the camel grass, but nothing serious.
Jutta Kleinschmidt (GER -- VW -- 3rd of the stage) - 310
It was a good day for us. Robbie escorted me during all the stage, and he was very precious because he helped me restart when I was stuck in a dune. He helped me earn some important minutes. I had to deflate my tires to cross the dunes. 70 km before the finish line, we did a little navigation mistake but nothing too serious. We didn't want to take more risks to catch the Mitsubishis back. What's important now is to stay at the 3rd place of the overall standings until Dakar.
Ari Vatanen (FIN -- Nissan -- 5th of the stage) - 311
Am I 5th of the stage? In fact, it isn't so important, because now my job is to help Giniel De Villiers. I changed the pressure of my tires maybe 17 times, because we were stuck in the sand during the whole day. But, now, I have to drive a team race, so I shall accept it. I'll do my best to bring a Nissan in a good position in Dakar.
Luc Alphand (FRA -- Mitsubishi -- 2nd of the stage) - 312
We drove very quickly today. The goal was to manage a gap between us and Jutta and she lost half an hour on the stage, so I'm really happy. But the main goal is to arrive in Dakar. It took us two attempts to cross the Taga pass. The rest day was very precious for the car, because it needed it. But now all is fully operational. We raced all day together with Stephane, which was very funny. But we weren't really flat out. We still haven't been given team rules. So, it was still a good day for us.
Robby Gordon (USA -- VW -- 4th de la speciale) - 317
Now, we are driving for the team, because Jutta could still climb on the podium in Dakar, and that's really important for Volkswagen. I have to help her, so I followed her all day. She was stuck behind a dune, so I stopped to help her dig and restart. Then, with all the dust, I stopped to have a better visibility. Then we spent 5 minutes with Gregoire De Mevius who was seriously bleeding on the face. Without all of this, I'm sure I could have caught the Mitsubishi for stage victory, but I had to work for the team, so I stayed with Jutta on the track. Apart from that it was a hard stage, with lots of soft sand and camel grass.
Vladimir Tchaguin (RUS -- Kamaz -- 2nd of the speciale) - 515
My only goal from now on is to help Firdaus to keep his first place. So, we try to stay behind him. But more than the victory of Kabirov, it's Kamaz and the Russia that we want to see win.
Firdaus Kabirov ( RUS -- KAM - Winner of the speciale) - 520
Our advance being big enough, we try to keep a normal rhythm from the start. The first 100 kilometers allowed us to drive quite fast. The course was good for our truck. After, the course wasn't as good so we had to slow down. We are first at the overall standing so we have to be carefull. The last part was very fast so we drove faster and we gain the time we lost in the dunes just before. It's too early to talk about victory. In 1999, I was in the same position and we broke the engine the day before the finish. So, we'll keep going the same way and stay focus.
Hans Bekx (HOL -- DAF -- 4th of the speciale) - 524
If someone had told us we would be second overall after this stage, we would never have believed him. At the start we aimed for the 5th place. The explinations are partially in our new suspensions. The stage was terrible. My back hurts very much because of the camel grass. And we had a puncture. From now on, we'll try to manage our good position to the best. The important being not to have mecanical problems.