Nema to Nema Connection: 10 km - Special: 366 km - Connection: 24 km Total: 400 km Bike: Helder Rodrigues (POR - Yamaha - Winner) - 10 This stage was very technical, which helped me to battle with bikes from other categories. With my 450 cc,...
Nema to Nema
Connection: 10 km - Special: 366 km - Connection: 24 km
Total: 400 km
Helder Rodrigues (POR - Yamaha - Winner) - 10
This stage was very technical, which helped me to battle with bikes from other categories. With my 450 cc, I lost out somewhat on the straight sections, but I was able to make up for this on the technical parts. I've had a good day and this victory is very important for the team, and me as well, because it's the first time that I've won a special stage in Africa. Previously, my best was a 3rd place last year.
Marc Coma (SPA- KTM Repsol -- 2nd) - 1
This stage was harder than expected. The tracks were very technically demanding. I started in 3rd position and it's easier to control the others than when you open the race. Once I had caught up with Cyril [Despres], I was happy with just staying in contact with him. I'm satisfied because we have got Mauritania out of the way and have dealt well with this part of the rally. Another important aspect is the victory for Helder [Rodrigues]. We started our endurance racing careers together and I'm happy for him. Since the stage was very technical, it was well suited to a 450 cc machine.
Cyril Despres (FRA -- KTM Gauloises -- 3rd) - 2
This special stage was a bit like a 366-km long downhill skiing event, with a powdery surface, so obviously it's really hard on your legs and hands. It was a very physical and exhausting special stage, but very interesting for navigation. I didn't choose to stay at the back so I went for all out attack, but apparently Marc did as well, because he was seven seconds quicker than me. It's perfectly plausible for less powerful bikes than ours to win this sort of stage. After all, Rodrigues's bike weighs 30 kg less than mine, he didn't have to navigate and only finished with a lead of 50'' after 366 km. Right throughout the rally this year, I haven't seen a single stage where we have had an easy ride. For the general standings, it's sure that being 54' behind, I can't normally hope to win. But we mustn't forget that for Stephane [Peterhansel], it was also mission impossible to catch up with De Villiers, and now he's the leader.
Chris Blais (USA -- KTM -- 6th) - 9
It was a nice, quiet day on winding, sandy tracks, a real motocross circuit. I caught up with and overtook Ullevalseter but then Casteu and Rodrigues caught up with me. Today, riding a 450 cc like Rodrigues was an advantage. I'm not too bothered about the third place in the general rankings for the moment. This special stage wasn't designed for opening up big gaps. I'm waiting to get to Mali and Senegal to make my move.
Nasser Al Attiyah (QAT -- BMW -- Winner) - 309
We really performed well on today's stage and maintained a good speed throughout. I'm delighted to have picked up my first special stage victory, it's a huge moment in my career. It was the last difficult stage in Mauritania and we really wanted to put in a good performance. People know that we don't have a car that is on a level playing field with the big teams' vehicles. Mind you, I've had a fever for two days now. After 250 km of the special, I didn't feel well. What's more, we also had transmission problems 20 km from the finishing line, so I had to slow down. Looking at the general rankings and the time I need to make up on Schlesser for third place, it's going to be difficult. I'm going to carry on at the same pace. Today we took back 7 minutes on Schlesser. There is still plenty of the Dakar to go, so we are going to try and avoid any mishaps. Anything's possible!
Stephane Peterhansel (FRA - Mitsubishi -- 4th) - 302
Everything is fine after this stage, both the car and the bloke. The car really worked well over a winding course with soft sand ruts. In fact, it was like a stage in the Savannah, but with much more steering. It was physically exhausting. We just wanted to position ourselves and arrive in a good place for the half-day tomorrow. After that, things will get serious again.
Luc Alphand (FRA - Mitsubishi -- 6th) - 300
That was a nice trip out into the country! It was quite quick, though, and sandy. The car was skidding around a lot and we couldn't step on the gas too much. Stephane caught up with us quickly, but it's normal for the first to start to serve as a benchmark. That's how the race is. We lost the 2 minutes time between each departure, but it's not serious or significant. We didn't make any navigation mistakes and didn't have any mechanical worries. Everything is fine. After tomorrow, we'll see what happens for the last part of this Dakar.
Giniel De Villiers (SA -- Volkswagen -- 15th) - 301
We started the special stage with a delay of 22 minutes on our scheduled time, which explains why we finished in 15th position. It was a very physical stage. My hands and arms are still hurting because yesterday we didn't have any power steering. As for yesterday, I'm obviously very disappointed, but life goes on. We now need to learn from these problems and find out exactly what happened. At any rate, we know that we can keep the pace with the best on any terrain and there are a lot of positive points. The goal now is to pick up stage victories. That's all that's still available to us. It's important for the moral of the team. As regards the general rankings, I'm afraid we will have to wait for a year. Personally, I have no doubt in my mind that the winner of the Dakar car rally will be Stephane Peterhansel.
Arjan Brouwer (HOL - GINAF - Winner) - 530
I broke the windscreen 5 kilometres from the finishing line on a tight left turn. There was a tree branch that was a little bit too low. It was the only problem I had. It was a great stage, and I'm absolutely ecstatic. It's my first Dakar in a truck, even my first race in a truck. It's good as well for Ginaf, since it's the second stage victory since Lisbon.
Andre De Azevedo (BRA - Tatra -- 2nd) - 503
Today was good, because we're getting closer to the savannah, which is similar to what I'm used to in the region where I live in Brazil. I felt at home! It was an interesting route, because it was technical. I only put the truck into 6th gear two or three times over the whole 366 kilometres. The forthcoming stages in Central Africa are chiefly technical stages, and that could be to my advantage.
Ilgizar Mardeev (RUS - Kamaz -- 3rd) - 527
The tracks today were mainly sandy. I was tired at the end of the stage because the previous days' efforts are starting to weigh me down. Whether we are in Mauritania or Central Africa, I'm not bothered. For me, it's not important to attack but to maintain the gaps.