Bike: Richard Sainct (FRA - KTM, 7th) - 001 "It went very averagely. The saddle fixing fell off, so I had to stop to get it and then ride sitting down for all the remaining stage. Of course, I lost minutes. I lose 6 on Roma although it's the...
(FRA - KTM, 7th) - 001
"It went very averagely. The saddle fixing fell off, so I had to stop to get it and then ride sitting down for all the remaining stage. Of course, I lost minutes. I lose 6 on Roma although it's the kind of stage where I might not have caught him up, but at least not have lost time. Anyhow, there still are big days to come where one can not predict what will happen. It was a fast special with a lot of dust."
(FRA - KTM, 1st) - 002
"Concerning my foot, we put a strap on it and it's not ideal to ride. Anyhow, even if the toe is broken it doesn't disturb me once in the boot. Taking off first helped me, especially on this kind of course. We had to slalom a bit between the chicken, the turkeys and the wild boars. I can imagine that the others have a strategy but I have no tactic. I have to attack as much as I can without taking risks, riding my own stages without thinking about the overall. It'll be a good thing anyhow starting in front tomorrow because it suits me well. When I have no track to follow, I'm more focused. Nothing is completely decided for victory. There still are 5 stages and still possibilities to take off and make a difference."
(SPA - KTM, 3rd) - 004
"It wasn't a nice special. There was a lot of dust and when you ride behind you have to go slowly. It was quite dangerous with many people and animals. The important thing today was getting back into the rhythm of the race and making it to the finish without a problem. I gain minutes on Sainct, I didn't think I would manage a gap today. It wasn't planned. I'm surprised because I didn't go fast. The difficult stages start tomorrow and anything can happen."
(RSA - KTM, 4th) - 010
"I could smell Despres' dust at the beginning. In the last 50kms, it had disappeared. I didn't realise he was doing so well. But it might not be a very clever thing as he will start first tomorrow. If I get him tomorrow, I'll gain the same time he took on me today. Unless he rides like a man possessed. The stage wasn't nice, full of ditches and holes."
(SPA - KTM, 2nd) - 011
"It was a very dangerous special : many people and animals on the road. I didn't really like it but after all, the result is good. I'd rather however ride in the desert, because I'm more of an enduro rider. I will carry on helping the team. Nani will be needing everyone to keep the rally leadership. Of course if I can manage other good results, I'll go for it. I really like this edition. It's the kind I like. The difference is purely made on the riding and that's good for the show. However, there might be a little too many kilometres."
( FRA - SCHLESSER FORD -- 2nd) - 200
"It was an enjoyable special with a lot of piloting. It's better than steps and stones. Going out of a village, Jutta Kleinschmidt nicely let us go past. After that I was behind Peterhansel and Masuoka. I couldn't do better because of the dust. I'm therefore satisfied because I managed not to make any mistakes. The car is doing well. We now have to prepare for tomorrow because we have to wake up early. I don't know if the race will be decided in the next three days because on this rally things happen every day. I find it disappointing that Peter complained about me overtaking him as we were getting out of a village. The two Mitsubishis are untouchable, they've won the race and therefore go slowly, should we have to let them win the specials as well ? I stayed within the speed limit in the village and then went full speed as soon as I could. I hope to finish on the podium and do even better if things go my way."
(JAP - Mitsubishi -- 4th) - 201
"The course allowed us to go quite fast. But we had to be careful at the many people and animals on the way. I managed to avoid a villager just in time. Now, the race will be difficult until Nouakchott. I am over an hour behind Peterhansel. Even at my maximum, I can't catch him, so I'll be as careful as possible. It would be a shame to have a problem and lose everything."
(FRA - Mitsubishi -- 3rd) - 203
"A very short special with a lot of dust ! We could have easily had an accident. There were many narrow bridges. We took it easy. We lost time getting closer to the speed-limit zones because the problem is that we don't know when they really start. The road-book says to go at 30km/h at the entrance signal but the radar checks our speed only 200 or 300m after. Schlesser made the choice to not slow down until the radar zone. Once out of the zone, he then overtook me before the end of the village. I don't really care about that because we were taking it easy. I completely agree with the organisers on speed-limits in villages, but the problem is that it's not totally clear. I trust the organisers will find a good solution. Tomorrow should be a nice stage with a lot of fast driving. The race is back and continues seriously with the two marathon stages of Thursday and Friday. We have to stay calm to make it to Dakar in the leading spot. We aren't allowed any mistakes."
(GER - Volkswagen -- 6th) - 204
"The special was very fast and dangerous with long stretches followed by holes and narrow bridges. In the villages it was terrible. In my opinion the 30km/h limit is too slow. 50km/h would be better and it wouldn't change anything. We let Schlesser overtake us because he was too fast for us. Then we let Alphand pass. It's not a stage for our car, especially with our small diesel engine compared to the BMW. For tomorrow, the biggest problem is that we might have lost our assistance truck. I'm not interested by the overall but Bruno (Saby) can achieve something good. The base of the car is very good. Now we have to work on power and suspensions..."
(FRA - BMW -- 1st) - 207
"I knew I had won once I got to the bivouac. 48 victories to go and I'll be like Vatanen. Before, I drove for special victory, now I'm a lot more careful. I want to make it to Dakar. This was not a planned victory. It's a good reward for the team and for me. I'm happy because it was a drivers special. It went fast, between the trees with jumps like in Kitzbuhel. Then there was dust. I thought I was behind Schlesser but it was actually Peterhansel. We stayed behind him. We were 2metres away and suddenly he went full speed and we never saw him again. In the villages I didn't even have the time to say hello to the people, I had my eyes on the speedometer and made sure it was at 30km/h. There's a little battle with Schlesser for a place on the podium. He wanted to win today to start in front of me tomorrow and avoid the dust. We're trying to neutralise him but he has so much experience. It'll be hard. Concerning the rumours that I would be in contact with Mitsubishi : indeed there are talks. It's a great team with fast drivers. They're always first on the track and first at the finish. They're very professional. Of course I would like to join them. But I'm very happy with BMW and my contract is signed for this year's World cup."
Gerard De Rooy
(NED -- DAF, 3rd) - 411
"I'm happy with my day. I'm still here and that's the most important. It was very dusty and therefore very dangerous. The road-book was badly done. It was full of mistakes, like holes that were not indicated. The truck even went flying. But it's OK, it's still in good shape. One thing is for sure : it's the kind of special where there's more to lose than to win. I'm still learning and I won't try to attack Kabirov on the upcoming stages. The most important thing is to get to Dakar, even if it's in 5th place."
Andre De Azevedo
(BRA -- Tatra, 2nd) - 412
"Dust... A lot of dust. We were stuck behind an official Nissan car. I horned to pass him, even nearly touched him but he wouldn't move. Then there was the Kamaz team game. Kabirov was in front and Tchaguine slowed us down. But I'm happy with our time. There were many villages so we had to watch out with speeding. Last year, Kabirov was faster than me in the long stages. This year I think he really wants second place overall, not like last year when I was between the two Kamaz trucks on the podium. For tomorrow's long special, it'll depend on the dust. Our starting position (2nd° is perfect."