Dakar: Stage 16 Nouakchott to Dakar quotes

Bike: Richard Sainct (FRA -- KTM, 1st) - 001 "A nice special. There weren't many solutions. I went to my maximum until the finish. I have no regrets. Roma was a bit lucky. He got lost but saw Meoni's track and followed. I can't go faster than...


Richard Sainct (FRA -- KTM, 1st) - 001
"A nice special. There weren't many solutions. I went to my maximum until the finish. I have no regrets. Roma was a bit lucky. He got lost but saw Meoni's track and followed. I can't go faster than I did. I didn't make a single mistake. One needs luck but also has to go an take it. Roma had a good race. When I fell (between Tanger and Er Rachidia), I thought it was finished for me. Not a lot would have placed a bet on me. Being here in second spot is an achievement."

Cyril Despres (FRA - KTM, 3rd) - 002
"Even in this penultimate stage of the race, there was a good fight out there. There were 193kms to compete on and I had a challenge with Cox for third place. Like I've done for three days, I really focused on navigation and it payed off. When I'm careful, I don't lose time. If I had done that from start to finish, it would maybe have been better for me today. That's what takes away the deception of having lost as much time because of mistakes that cost me 1h20. But one can't write the race all over. These things are learnt for the next edition. Roma is on his 9th Dakar and it's only the second time he's on the finish line. Concerning myself, I've done four and finished three. So if it took him 9 years to learn, then I can wait another year!"

Fabrizio Meoni (ITA - KTM, 5th) - 003
"I'm a bit sad. Making it to Dakar, maybe for the last time isn't easy. In the last part of the special, a lot of old memories came to mind. But that's life. It's time to turn the page. Now, I have to talk to KTM and the sponsors to see if they absolutely want me to carry on. But my decision is already taken. It was a nice special. It was tough because there weren't a lot of fast tracks. It was mainly enduro. One also needed to have good navigation skills. Roma deserves his victory. I'm really happy for him, for Spain and for Arcarons. This win is also due to him. The other years, Nani didn't have anyone to slow him down. This year, he could count on the help of Jordi Arcarons. Tomorrow will be a real party although nothing is won before the finish line. The race isn't over until the flag is waved."

Nani Roma (SPA - KTM, 2nd) - 004
"This special wasn't easy, with no GPS. I went at my own rhythm, leaving Sainct take off in front because I knew it would be difficult for him to gain 7min on me. The final liaison was stressful and dangerous in the traffic around Dakar. Anyhow, in this race, everything scares me. I tried not to think about the victory. I'm therefore very happy, like the others, to be here today. If I win, it'll be the best of rewards. I've won a lot of competitions in enduro, each moment in life is important, but to win a Dakar is the ultimate achievement. This rally has been very difficult for me. I knew that a lot of people were watching me and were expecting my mistakes. Compared to the previous years, I've changed of mentality. I remember Meoni telling me to "understand the race", but I didn't know what he meant. Now, I do. I've understood that I should accept each moment of the race and mainly to stay calm. That's the most important thing. Every day, I've had difficult moments, but I managed to put them aside and stay focused and calm. That's the key to victory. In my opinion, it's thanks to this mentality, that a rider manages to win a Dakar and most of all that he wins many. But the Dakar is such a difficult race, so complicated that we'll see next year if what I'm saying is true".

Alfie Cox (RSA - KTM, 4th) - 010
"Everyone thought it would be easy but it was actually very difficult today. There was difficult navigation with no GPS. I tried hard to take some time off Despres. But he left behind me and caught me. I couldn't do anything. Now he has over 2 minutes on me. Tomorrow is too short. It's virtually impossible to catch him. All in all it was a very tough race. Going from Paris to Dakar is always tougher than going to Cairo. It was as hard as in 98. I think it's about time Roma won. A lot has to do with the knowledge of Jordi Arcarons (KTM Repsol Head of racing). He helped keep the team together. Nani should have won in 2000 but blew his engine. He's a great rider. In navigation he's now as good as Sainct. He had bad luck in the beginning, but that was due to bad choices in the tyres. He fought back well. In the future, we'll also have to keep an eye on Despres."


Jean Louis Schlesser (FRA - SCHLESSER FORD -- 11th) - 200
"I'm happy to finish third ahead of an official team. But the race isn't over yet. We saw Gregoire De Mevius crash in front of us. We stopped to help him. We took a rope and helped put the car back on its wheels.

Hiroshi Masuoka (JAP - Mitsubishi -- 4th) - 201
"The beginning was twisty and narrow and after it was off-piste. We were very careful because it was impossible to catch Peterhansel. On the whole rally, we've had only one problem (gear box) and that cost us the rally. I can only be satisfied with 2nd spot. The car is very strong. Next year, the main danger should come from Nissan. They're very fast in some sections. They need to work on little problems. It'll be a good fight next year.

Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA - MITSUBISHI -- 9th) - 203
"It was a bit of a long day although it was a 200km stage. It was important not to take any risks, especially because we could afford to lose some time. We were cooler than in the previous days because I was worried about Hiroshi (Masuoka). Every kilometre is an extra stage towards the victory. We still have the famous stage to the Lac Rose. But we've managed a big step forward. I'm not yet at the level of Hubert Auriol. My first win on a bike took place in Dakar. I hope it'll be the same in a car".

Luc Alphand (FRA -- BMW -- 2nd) - 207
"I finish 1st and a half (considering that Kleinschmidt will be put out of the race). It wasn't planned. We were driving with Schlesser and then he punctured. I preferred to go fast because it keeps me focused. It's tough for De Mevius. We're happy to be here and we were happy to get out of Morocco in 4th spot. It would have been good to put one of the cars on the podium.

Andrea Mayer (GER -- Mitsubishi n°211, 10th) - 211
"Finishing 5th overall is better than I expected. I thought that a Nissan would be in front. We didn't have too much work with the EVO2. Now I understand the race better : the car, when to attack or slow down. Andreas Schultz (co-driver) helped me a lot because he knows the car so well. Do better ? Each thing at a time. First I did the Dakar on a bike, now I'm in a top car team...and that's already quite something.


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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Luc Alphand , Jean-Louis Schlesser , Hiroshi Masuoka , Stéphane Peterhansel , Fabrizio Meoni , Cyril Despres , Alfie Cox , Richard Sainct , Andrea Mayer , Hubert Auriol , Nani Roma , Jordi Arcarons