Bike: Richard Sainct (FRA - KTM, 8th) - 001 It was luckily a short special because it proved to be very physical. It still feels great to be back in the sand, especially because now we have to wait a few days before seeing it again. Until now,...
Richard Sainct (FRA - KTM, 8th) - 001
It was luckily a short special because it proved to be very physical. It still feels great to be back in the sand, especially because now we have to wait a few days before seeing it again. Until now, the important thing was to have fun without however taking too many risks. Now the race has really started. Concerning the Tangier-Er Rachidia stage, it’ll be a first taste of Africa.
Cyril Despres (FRA - KTM, 2nd) - 002
I fell. I slipped on a stone at the entrance of the special. The front of the bike went sideways. I’m fine but the bike is slightly scratched. That annoys me. And it’s stupid to fall like that. I therefore took it easily after that. With all the bikes leaving before me, the sand was very soft.
Giovanni Sala (ITA - KTM, 3rd) - 007
I did pretty well today. I have to say I had a good training in Brasil in November. The course was tough and the sand very soft. Added to that, Coma fell behind a jump and left a big hole on the track. I had to slow down and even stop and go back into first gear. I probably lost seconds there. When you have experience like I do, it goes easily.
Alfie Cox (RSA - KTM, 9th). - 010
“A big crowd in Clermont. A big crowd in Narbonne. I was once again surprised by the number of people today. It’s good for the rally. You see here how important the stages are for the good health of the race. For us there not as interesting on a sporting point of view. Now Europe is behind us and I can’t wait to ride in the desert.
David Fretigne (FRA Yamaha, 1st) - 012
“I took off too carefully on the first jumps and then went full speed once I was sure that the bike was well balanced. I then made sure not to make any mistakes, not to lose precious seconds. It’s great to have confirmation that the two wheeled drive bike is so stable on sand before heading to Morocco. It’s funny to tell myself that for my first Dakar, I’m leading the overall standing before going to Africa. I never could have imagined that. But I have to stay calm, I still consider that I’m here to learn so my strategy remains the same.
Stephane Peterhansel (FRA - Mitsubishi, 3rd) - 203
“It’s good to be back on the sand, after the snow and the mud during the first two stages. Especially because we won’t have any sand before two days, the first two specials in Morocco being very rocky. Today, I didn’t take any risks on the jumps so my time is not fantastic but in was fun on a driving point of view. Now we’re really getting into the race. Short specials are over. Now it’ll take hours and hours of improvisation, which I prefer. We’ll however have to be careful in Morocco because there was rain over there and the terrain might be dangerous.
Ari Vatanen (RSA Nissan, 14th) - 205
I decided that I couldn’t win the Dakar here so I took it easily, without jumping not to damage the car. I’m happy that this European part of the rally is now over because anything could have happened. Just look at what happened to Loubet who had to withdraw for a mechanical problem without even having left France. Added to that, it’s always a pleasure to go back to Africa.
Luc Alphand (FRA - BMW, 4th) - 207
“I wanted to be between the 6th and the 8th place before entering Africa. I did even better and that’s perfect. We’ll have to be careful on the first stage in Morocco that isn’t that different to the European ones. It won’t be a real African special but one can consider that the rally has really started. I’m delighted with my new co-pilot who is a perfectionist.
Giniel De Villiers (RSA Nissan, 1st) - 208
This victory is kind of a compensation after yesterday’s incident. I’m really happy. It’s great to win a special on the Dakar, especially the first one for me. I’m quite satisfied not to have lost too much time on these European stages.
Gregoire De Mevius (FRA - BMW, 2nd) - 212
“It wasn’t exactly the best type of course for the car but it still went well. The sand was very soft compared to the other years and I didn’t find out straight away. So I went rather slowly, without taking too many risks whereas we could have gone faster. It was important to finish well in order to have a good starting position for tomorrow’s stage.
Jean Leonard Vigne (FRA, Mercedes, 46th) - 405
“It was a nice special. Everything went well. Can’t wait for Africa because I’m tired of the motorway.
Johannes De Rooy (NED, 1st) - 411
“I’m used to the sand, especially with my experience. I just love driving on the beach. It was enjoyable for me today ! But I can’t wait for Africa…
Andre De Azevedo (BRA Tatra, 7th) - 412
“The European stages have not been interesting for us. We can’t have fun on only 9 kilometres. All I want now is to get to Africa. For me, the rally really starts tomorrow.