Motorcycles Cyril Despres (FRA -- KTM) - 002 It hurts to lose a friend. Tomorrow when I will get back on my bike, it'll be different. Something will be missing. It's tough especially so close to what happened to Richard (Sainct), a few months...
Cyril Despres (FRA -- KTM) - 002
It hurts to lose a friend. Tomorrow when I will get back on my bike, it'll be different. Something will be missing. It's tough especially so close to what happened to Richard (Sainct), a few months ago. It's tough! We had some news from his family which is of course very sad, and of his son who doesn't quite understand the situation. We really couldn't get back on the bike today. It's a good thing that the organisation made the necessary efforts and understood us. It's important for us to go to Dakar and they also understood that. These moments are difficult and last. We do a great job. We have to remain focused to be good in what we do. But I'm not scared of going back on the bike. I love it too much, like Fabrizio when he got back on his bike after the death of Richard (Sainct). I believe that getting back on the bike is the best thing to do. We'll see how the race goes and if we can focus during tomorrow's stage. It's pointless taking any risks. But I'm not worried about tomorrow. We still have three days to go before Dakar. And we had told Fabrizio that we wanted to have a 'blue' bike on the podium. Fabrizio and Richard really found it hard when Peterhansel dominated the rally. They learnt to go fast thanks to guys like him or Magnaldi and Orioli. When I arrived, they were my guides. Trying to follow them, understanding how to cope with the navigation, when I was way behind, helped me improve.I don't know if one can talk about idols because I never really had any. But if I am here today, it's thanks to them. The way I ride is theirs.
Luc Pagnon (FRA -- 64th overall) - 013
For everyone, today is a day of mourning. It's important to mark this day. Anyhow, like all the others, I think it wouldn't have been possible to ride today after what happened yesterday. When I saw Meoni's bike, I thought he had maybe injured himself, but never would I have imagined such a thing although it was in our minds during the liaison. I can't really tell what the best thing is now. But for sure, we had to do something. Now is it enough? I can't tell. I especially have a thought for his family and his team, Jeannot (Brucy), Cyril (Despres) and the others. For them, it's terrible because they aren't only team mates, they're also friends that have been living together for years. Of course, they're great champions with fantastic characters but they remain men. It'll be difficult for them to get back on the bike tomorrow.
Stephane Peterhandel (FRA -- Mitsubishi -- 2nd of the stage) - 306
It was a hard stage for both man and car. We were lost, we ate dust and spent a long time behind the steering wheel. So we're really happy to have made it. Apparently, the car is in a good shape for tomorrow's stage.The race terrain has totally changed now, with a very dusty ground and a lot of trees. There are a lot of animals close to the track, so you have to be very focused at any moment. You can lose a lot of minutes in a very short time so you have to stay focused. Now, we are controlling the race day after day. Sometimes I feel Luc Alphand's a little bit nervous, trying to attack a little just to see, so I have to counter-attack every time but it's not easy at all.
Bruno Saby (FRA -- Volkswagen -- 4th of the stage) - 307
The day was so long... Seven hours of special, it's very hard, especially with all the dust. Nothing special happened to me because I just staid behind Jutta Kleinschmidt from the 150th km. It's really important for Volkswagen that she keeps her third place until Dakar, so we all played the team game by staying behind her just in case. My co-driver did a very good job today, without a single mistake, so we could actually be in a better place at the end, but as I said, we shall stay behind Jutta. In my opinion, the race is over now because the Mitsubishis are controlling the race and we just have to bring Jutta on the third place to Dakar. The atmosphere was really upsetting this morning, but we had to go racing. It shall be harder for the drivers who were riders before, like 'Peter' or Nani Roma...
Jutta Kleinschmidt (GER -- Volkswagen -- 6th of the stage) - 310
It was a hard day, especially with hard navigation. As we started in first position this morning, we had to open the road. At the beginning we had some problems with animals crossing the track. We hit one but nothing serious happened. After that, we lost ourselves and the Mitsus caught us. We stayed all three together, but after that we lost ourselves again. Some cars caught us and we raced together until km 400. I then had a transmission problem, so I drove carefully until the finish line. But I kept my 3rd place on the overall standings and that's the most important.
Luc Alphand (FRA -- Mitsubishi -- 3rd of the stage) - 312
The stage was very, very long and physically hard. Everybody played 'cat and mouse' all day long. There was a lot of navigation and finally they overtook me! 600kms of racing on such a tricky course and with so many trees is really demanding. Especially with the 200km of liaison that followed. Until the end of the race, we'll do everything not to take anymore risks. I want to bring the car safely to Dakar.
Giniel De Villiers (SAF -- Nissan -- Stage winner) - 314
It was a very difficult day, with a lot of navigation, very easy to get lost. We were lost a couple of times, but I think that at the end of the day we were lost less than the other guys. Towards the end we managed to catch up Stéphane Peterhansel and finish the stage in his dust. At a lot of places during the stage, it was very narrow and with many trees on the sides, so we had to be very careful because it was easy to hit the trees, especially with all the dust. We didn't have any problems with the car today which worked perfectly. It's a good thing to cancel the bike stage today, because even for us in the car, the atmosphere was upsetting. But I think it was also a good thing to race, in respect for Fabrizio who would have wanted us to continue for the love of racing.