Dakar: Stage 14 Ayoun el Atrous to Tidjikja quotes

Bike: Richard Sainct (FRA - KTM, 4th) - 001 "It was a nice fast special. Difficult because of the heat. But the hardest is done. It's however a day less to catch up my delay and honestly, I believe there's only one more hard special tomorrow.

Bike:

Richard Sainct (FRA - KTM, 4th) - 001
"It was a nice fast special. Difficult because of the heat. But the hardest is done. It's however a day less to catch up my delay and honestly, I believe there's only one more hard special tomorrow. It won't be easy for me. Tomorrow, Roma starts in front and will certainly wait for me. Today he got lost and it will serve him as a lesson for tomorrow. He won't let go of me. His strategy is clear : he rides his race. I would do the same in his position. Tomorrow, I'll be going at my rhythm. In Morocco I lost a lot of time. I'm not looking for excuses, but I didn't start the rally as I wanted."

Cyril Despres
(FRA - KTM , 1st) - 002 "It was a nice special : long and hard. We were on wet sand with a lot of bends, going up ad down. It was very sinuous during 150kms. A little before a village, at around km 100, I overtook Lundmark than found myself in front of Roma. A doctor told us to go one way. I had already made stupid things so I decided to go my own way. Nani got lost. 30kms later I caught Sainct and we rode together well. At refuelling, we had about 6minutes on Roma. I carried on riding in front and leaving a track in the sand. It makes things easier for the others. Roma did well, he went full speed and caught us. He could have lost a lot of time. Riding off-track is a question of luck. Today I wanted to increase the gap on Cox and carry on riding in front. I'm fighting against myself. This victory takes away the deception I've been having since Tidjikja and after yesterday's mistake. Mygoal is not winning special. My only priority is doing my best."

Fabrizio Meoni (ITA - KTM, 6th) - 003
"I fell when I was riding on soft sand at around km 100 and I twisted my left knee. I carried on riding but after refuelling it hurt so much that I had to stop. I don't think it's that bad but it still hurts a lot. I've often had this problem, that's why I ride with knee-protections but I broke them a few days ago. This year, I've gone through all the problems : mechanical, navigational... and now I injure myself. It means that the moment has come to stop. I'm 46 and it's already quite an achievement to have carried on for so long without major problems. I would like to win one last special in the upcoming days but with this bad knee, it'll be difficult."

Nani Roma (SPA - KTM, 3rd) - 004
"Another difficult stage ! I made a navigation mistake at around 30kms from CP1. It was a shame because all was going well. But what I'm satisfied about is that I kept my calm when I saw that I was losing 5min on Sainct. I accelerated and took three minutes on him. I'm very happy to have adapted and then kept the same rhythm because there were still many kilometres. It was a nice special. At the end of the track, the sand was wet. It was a bit of a motocross race. I was having so much fun that I started laughing on my bike. And when you're laughing, it means that you are doing your job well. Tomorrow won't be easy again, and anyhow until Patrick Zaniroli hasn't raised the flag, nothing is decided."

Alfie Cox (RSA - KTM, 2nd) - 010
"I was going for the win. I can't believe Despres beat me. I thought I had won. It was fantastic out there. A nice piste, twisty and because of the rain, the sand was nice and wet. It was by far the best stage of the rally".

Car:

Jean-Louis Schlesser (FRA - Schlesser-Ford -- 4th) - 200
"It was difficult. With our two-wheel drive car, we're finding it hard in the soft sand. The 100 last kilometres were nice. It had rained so the sand was good. It became very sinuous at km 200 and we couldn't go fast. We didn't make any mistakes. Except that a doctor told us to change direction and forced us to go through a village. Tomorrow they (the Mitsubishi cars) will open the track. We'll be able to watch."

Hiroshi Masuoka (JAP - Mitsubishi -- 5th) - 201
"It was a special without any problem except that we had a puncture before CP1. The navigation wasn't easy. We drove with Peterhansel and De Villiers for a long time. We didn't need to attack, only to keep an eye on the gaps. We had not established any strategy. The most important thing was not to damage the car because there is no assistance tonight. Tomorrow, I'm starting behind. I'll drive my own race.

Colin McRae (UK - NISSAN -- 2nd) - 202
"We had a good clean run. Alphand overtook us in the dunes and then we past him again on normal tracks. Like yesterday we had the same vibration problems. I couldn't go faster than 130km/h. This country brings back bad transmission memories ! We had to look after the car, especially because this is a stage with no assistance. We're now going to take it steadily. We don't want to take too many chances and make it to Dakar."

Ari Vatanen (FIN - NISSAN - AB) - 205
"At kilometre 10, we were going too fast. On a bump, the car went sideways and we couldn't avoid a tree. We broke it but we also broke the car. We carried on for 2kms but we ran out of oil. I'm very disappointed because we had made so many efforts between Tidjikja and Nema. A lot would have retired in our situation".

Luc Alphand (FRA - BMW -- 1st) - 207
"It was a nice stage and a story about navigation. Yesterday, Schlesser tired us with his rhythm. Finishing 9th wasn't good, so today I took of on a better rhythm. It all happened at km 160 with excellent navigation by my sniffer-dog Henri (Magne, co-driver). All the tracks were bad so we went off-road. Unlike the others that got lost. We then overtook Kleinschmidt and De Villiers. We went full speed. At CP2, Patrick Zaniroli told me I was second. I therefore thought there was still a chance to win. Further on in the dunes, I saw McRae and told myself 'I'm going to try and impress him and overtake him'. That's what I did but I think it annoyed him as he overtook me again later. On the finish line he said 'I thought you were a skier."

-aso-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Colin McRae , Luc Alphand , Jean-Louis Schlesser , Hiroshi Masuoka , Ari Vatanen , Fabrizio Meoni , Cyril Despres , Alfie Cox , Richard Sainct , Nani Roma