Motorcycles Alfie Cox (SAF -- KTM -- 4th of the stage) - 003 It was a long day today, almost the double of yesterday, which was pretty long. Had some troubles with the mouss of my rear tyre, which was flat at the end of the stage. At least,...
Alfie Cox (SAF -- KTM -- 4th of the stage) - 003
It was a long day today, almost the double of yesterday, which was pretty long. Had some troubles with the mouss of my rear tyre, which was flat at the end of the stage. At least, the main thing is that we will soon be in Dakar. After all it wasn't such a bad day, but I'm impatient to finish with this race. However, it's not funny to ride in black Africa, because there are too many people on the track. Today again, we had a lot of villages to cross, with many speed controls. It's quite dangerous because children or animals can cross at any time just in front of you. So, this is very stressful and you can't have fun on the bike. Added to that, on different sections, there were very big holes on the track, making it very easy to fall.
Marc Coma (SPA -- KTM -- 5th of the stage) - 006
It was again a long stage today, but without main changes for me. At the end, the high temperature didn't help. There was nothing particular for us, because everybody rode carefully. But the most important is to be here and almost in Dakar. If someone told before the start, that I would be second at the end, I wouldn't have believed it. But now, with what happened, racing is very hard, especially for all of us, so the most important is to finish it.
David Fretigné (FRA -- Yamaha -- 2nd of the stage) - 012
The race is frozen now. There's nothing to hope anymore. Today, the stage was really too fast for me, especially between CP2 and the finish line. It was a wide track, and all the others caught me with their 660cc.Anyway, the most important is getting the good feelings back on the bike. In fact, this morning I had a hard time to focus on, so I entered a wrong GPS key code, and had a fall, which could have been worse because I finished in the trees! But the rider instinct took control and I focused myself on the track to ride well after that during all the stage. I'm satisfied about my race. My goal was to finish between the 3rd and 5th position of the overall standings and I'm 5th . If the officials gave me back the time I lost when I stayed with Fabrizio waiting the doctors, I would be 3rd. But it doesn't really matter, the most important thing for me is to know that one day I can win the Dakar and that I'm a real contender among the best riders.
Chris Blais (USA -- KTM -- 3rd of the stage) - 022
It was a good day for me. The track was very fast and twisty today, just as I like. I had a lot of fun, especially when we crossed the river, which was very interesting. I stayed on the saddle halfway through the river but after that I lost too much speed so I had to hop off and finish alongside the bike. So, I finished the stage with my boots full of water, which wasn't very comfortable. A part from that, I tried to ride a smart stage, following the others on the tricky sectors to learn. Every day on the Dakar, you have to learn something new and I have learnt a lot this year. More than on any other race. Which is very good for next year.
Jean De Azevedo (BRA -- KTM -- Stage Winner) - 025
It's a great emotion for me to win my first stage on the Dakar rally, especially after such a hard race. I'm very proud of myself, because the stage was very long and one needed to keep a high pace all the way to the finish. It was a very fast stage, very dusty too. I easily caught Alfie Cox and then we rode together until the finish line. After 150km, we began crossing villages and also the Falémé river, so we rode with special care. For the moment, I'm very satisfied of my race, because for a privateer like me, it's very hard to compete with the official KTM teams. So, being 7th overall standings is fantastic.
Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA -- Mitsubishi -- 8th) - 306
It's the first day I drive so slowly. When Vatanen caught us, we let him overtake and he went full speed ahead. But it wasn't a problem seeing the Nissans take off: Vatanen is a week behind and De Villiers is 4h adrift.When you lead the overall with three days to go, it becomes very difficult to manage specials. You're very worried. And that's what happened at the river crossing. You always find a new problem and the days are long.It's difficult for Luc (Alphand) to overtake me, and when he does, I know that I can catch him back. On the other hand when I want to gain time, I know I can. I've known Luc for ten years now and I know he's a super competitor, a winner. I knew he wouldn't give up until the finish. Actually we still haven't been given team decisions. But I've been fighting for 20 years against the clock watch and other rivals so when we get to the bivouac there isn't the slightest problem between us.
Bruno Saby (FRA -- VW -- 2nd) - 307
It's really too bad because I stayed behind Monterde for 150kms. I don't know why but he just didn't want me to overtake him. A few minutes isn't that important but I still would like to do better than last year and keep my 5th position (6th in 2004)Because of the dust, I didn't enjoy myself that much today. I stopped to see what Jutta Kleinschmidt's problem was but she told me to carry on after 2 or 3 minutes. It was a steering problem.The course was quite fast but very tricky with many holes and big stones.
Ari Vatanen (FIN -- Nissan -- Stage winner) - 311
It's impossible to predict things in advance but it's such a pleasure to win a special. It's always good to have a touch of happiness to boost the moral of the team. I did my best. I also know that the others took it easy today so I took advantage of that.I don't know if I'll be back in 2006. Nobody what the future will be like. But I still have the will to fight.Compared to the Mitsubishis and the Volkswagens, we have a small team. But they managed to build a competitive team in 9 months and they have my total respect. I'm not worried about the fact that Peterhansel is closing in on my special victory record. He's a great driver; he's still young and will carry on for many years.
Giniel De Villiers (SAF -- Nissan -- 3rd) - 314
Another good and long day that's over! We're getting closer to Dakar. I'm the only one that Ari Vatanen didn't overtake.He was on fire today. I knew that the special would be good for him especially after having hd a good rest with all his mechanical problems. Every day, I try to avoid problems. I'm a bit upset with the orad book because ruts were not signaled and I had a big scare on one of them. I took off and heavily landed on the front of the car. I then no longer had brakes for the remaining 350kms. It was really dangerous.
Nani Roma (ESP -- Mitsubishi -- 4ème de la spéciale) - 320
It was a special for WRC rally drivers. But that's alright, I took it easily. At around km 120, I saw Peterhansel and Alphand. I thought that they had suffered problems but everything was OK. I stayed behind them all the way to the finish.Today, again, I felt that I improved. If one looks at my first specials in Morocco and these ones, he difference is huge. The feelings are much better. That's the positive side of things, especially because unlike the others, I've only tested the car on 600kms. I'm brand new but this Dakar reassured me on my capacities in a car. If I switched from bikes to cars, it was to improve. And I hope to win the rally one day although I know only to well that nothing can be expected on a Dakar.In 2005, I'll try to drive at my maximum. I intend to compete in Baja races and one or two African rallies. I'll also compete in the Spanish rally championship.
Yoshimasa Sugawara (JAP -- Hino -- 2nd of the stage) - 500
Our third position of the overall standing is a satisfaction. I'm really happy. We can almost say that we took the victory in the small engines category, because we really can't be a true contender of the powerful Kamaz and DAF trucks. The stage from Zouerat to Tichit was very good for us, because with our extra 100 litres tank, we didn't run out of gas. In fact, since the start, I tried to do a smart race.
Gerard De Rooy (HOL -- DAF -- Stage winner) - 516
It was a beautiful stage today, with a wonderful scenery. At the beginning, it was fast. It's just a shame we can't drive over 150 km/h. We broke the rear suspensions but I just noticed it when we were at the bivouac. It was also a day when one could break the wind screen, because there were a lot of trees. It's always good to clinch three stage wins in a row, and maybe I could get a fourth tomorrow, because I still have the advantage of starting in first position. And with all the dust, there's no way for overtaking.
Firdaus Kabirov (RUS -- Kamaz -- 3rd of the stage) - 520
It was a calm day. I stayed focused all the way to be sure not to damage the truck. I really don't think about the win, because it's still too early. Four years ago, I was third on the banks of the 'Lac Rose', but I finished second because Loprais broke down. In our sport, anything can happen, even if you don't do any mistakes. So I'll stay focused until the podium. However, all is good for me for the moment, especially because the race was very difficult this year.