Dakar: Stage 4 Er Rachidia to Ouarzazate quotes

Stage 4: Er Rachidia to Ouarzazate January 3, 2006 Connection 56 km - Special 386 km - Connection 197 km Total 639 km Bike: Cyril Despres (FRA -- KTM -- 4th) "It was a better day for me today. It was a stage with a lot of navigation to do, ...

Stage 4: Er Rachidia to Ouarzazate
January 3, 2006
Connection 56 km - Special 386 km - Connection 197 km
Total 639 km


Cyril Despres (FRA -- KTM -- 4th)
"It was a better day for me today. It was a stage with a lot of navigation to do, what's ever pleasant when you find the good way. I lost myself a couple of times but nothing serious. Then I take the lead, and had to open the way for the others, so I had to slow down the pace. We made some little modifications on the speed alarm, which works a little better. We feel like in a TV game, because it keeps ringing. Anyway, it was a good day. The three first stages were a little bit difficult, because each competitor had to understand the new rules and find his own set up, but now the real race has started."

Isisdre Esteve Pujol (ESP -- KTM -- 1st)
"It has been a good day. Things are going on quite well since the beginning of the rally I, spite of the dust which makes every overtaking very difficult. Once again, there was a lot of dust and I had to get off the track a couple of times to overtake. But after having passed Fretigne et Ullevalseter, I have been able to ride at a good pace until the end of the stage. And with this new bike, riding is always a real pleasure. Tomorrow, I will open the track. I guess it is going to very pleasant not to have many riders ahead of me, but it will surely be quite difficult to win the stage. Yet, if we want to win the race, we will have to find a way resist to the riders chasing behind on every stage. Actually, it is still a long way to Dakar and we have more than time to think about this. Actually, the real good satisfaction so far is the great atmosphere in our team."

David Casteu (FRA -- KTM - 5th)
"I started up the stage at the 17th position, it was so dusty that the first kilometers were really dangerous. After the refueling point, I overcame David (Fretigne) and Giovanni (Sala) in a shot. I spent all day long alone, doing navigation on my own with the road-book. Africa is our team's playground : Isidre, Cyril and myself are former trial riders, we like extreme courses. As for me, reaching the Top 5 is some fabulous. When I was a child, I was amazed by the Dakar on television."

Carlo de Gavardo (CHI -- KTM -- 3rd)
"I felt very much better than yesterday. Today I really enjoyed myself riding. The stage was less dangerous than yesterday's, I didn't make any mistake and the bike was perfect. I negotiated the first dunes quite well, what is encouraging for the coming stages, even if the Mauritanian dunes are far bigger. Actually it was a good practice today. It cheers me up for the end of the rally."

Marc Coma (ESP -- KTM - 2nd)
"For the first kilometres, we had the sun right in the eyes, and there was a lot of stones. So I was a bit tense. Then we negotiated the first dunes. There was a lot of people and we had to ride safely. But, after the dunes, we were alone. We had the first real navigation problems. But I easily found my way and managed to ride fast till the end. Everything is OK, I am very satisfied with my bike. But I really want to remain cool even if I am the leader so far. Actually, I have always said that the last day is the most important on the Dakar. Therefore, I will keep riding as fast and safely as possible. But it is true that the race has now really started."


Carlos Sainz (ESP -- VW -1er)
"That was a good day for me and the pace of the stage was pretty fast. It is my third victory since Lisbon but everybody tells me that Le Dakar is just starting now. For instance, Mauritania is something even bigger. Let's see what happens in the dunes. I am still learning on the rally. I don't think I'm driving in a risky way."

Thierry Magnaldi (FRA -- Schlesser -2nd)
"It was a good day today. The car worked perfectly well and Arnaud Debron didn't any navigation mistake and followed exactly the indications on the roadbook, as required by the organisation. I tried as much as possible to avoid to puncture. And don't forget that I drive a new car, very much faster than last year's one. So, I have to get used to this fast pace. But I feel better day after day.

Luc Alphand (FRA -- Mitsubishi -- 3rd)
"I punctured the left rear wheel. Apart of this, we had no problem, neither with the car, nor with the tyres. In fact, it has been a good day but, an advantage of 4', it is nothing on the Dakar. But what is sure is that we have a very nice fight for the lead. It is very good for the show, but sometimes we even drive a bit too fast. But we have too it. We won't let the others out-distance us."

Stephane Peterhansel (FR. -- Mistubishi -- 14th)
"We have had a difficult day... A little mistake and we found ourselves behind the others, in the dust. It has been difficult to catch them up. But nothing dramatic. Actually, we are exactly in the same position as last year. It is true that it is not good to be a few minutes adrift. But we will fill this gap, and out-distance our opponents. It is true that things are getting a bit more difficult, but we have to stay cool anyway."

Bruno Saby (FRA -- VW -- 5th)
"Everything went on good today in spite of a puncture in the middle of the stage which led us to slow down. We drive at the same pace since the very beginning of the rally, without taking too many risks. And we keep in touch with the leaders. Actually, this is what we could call a "Dakar pace", because there no reason to outdo on our rivals. I think it is much more efficient to be patient till the race really evolves. We don't know what the future holds in store for us but it is our strategy. It is true that the navigation is very important this year and not so easy, that sometimes we have to search for the waypoints. In fact, the course decided by the organisation is quite technically demanding, even sometimes very tactical since we have to get off the main track to find the waypoints in the middle of nowhere. But that's exactly what they were seeking for. So far we have had no problem, Michel Perrin (copilot), strictly follows the roadbook, and everything is perfect."

Hiroshi Masuoka (JAP - MIT - 15th - retired)
"I'm really disappointed to retire here. It ois very frustrating since I had a really good feeling. i leave tha Dakar exactely as last year, after an accident during the second stage in Morrocco. Just after a dune we went across a tarmac and fell into two big holes that my navigator forgot to announce. The car made two forwardtumbles. The roll bar has been damaged but we both are alright. I hoped I could still be in nthe race tomorrow morning but the team manager decided that it wouldn't be safe. So see you next year..."

Benoit Rousselot (FRA -- NISSAN -- 1st T2 class)
"It was really a tough stage today, but we achieved to make our way through all the traps. I have actually to thanks my navigator, Sylvain Poncet, who did a great job today in the critical moments, especially when we were stuck in dunes and "fech-fech". But the most important thing is that we've found now our rhythm, fast but still careful on every danger. Our communication in the car is now perfect, so I can anticipate. So we did the scratch and took the lead of the class but it wasn't our goal this morning. We are still keeping a global vision of the race and the big gaps won't be made here, but in Mauritania. Anyway, it's always nice to make a result."


Firdaus Kabirov (RUS -- KAM- 3rd)
"Today, I have been able to clock a good time since I had no technical problem. Because, since Lisbon, I haven't been lucky. I had some problem of clutch, I was blocked behind the two trucks which had capsized. And yesterday, I had some new trouble with my turbo, that I had to change last night. And today, everything went on good. I followed some cars which were as fast as I was and could overtake a few competitors. I think I will go on at nthe same pace till the end in Dakar. And why not get one of the places on the podium..."

Vladimir Tchaguine (RUS -- Kamaz -- 1st)
"Today, it has been a good day, with all the classical difficulties: Dunes, dust and navigation. But the most interesting thing was the long distance of the stage. And now we are going to make real differences. Because the days before there has not been any real gap."

Hans Stacey (HOL -- Man -- 2nd)
"Today I had to drive very fast most of the stage as well as to be safe and slow to negotiate a few passages. There were a huge dunes and I have been very impressed by all the spectators who had come to watch this first stage in the sand. I am very satisfied with this second place. Chagin and his team are very strong but my truck is new and works perfectly well. It is still a long way to Dakar, but I would really appreciate if I could get in the top 5"


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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Carlos Sainz , Luc Alphand , Hiroshi Masuoka , Stéphane Peterhansel , Cyril Despres , Arnaud Debron , Bruno Saby , Marc Coma , Carlo de Gavardo , Benoit Rousselot , Sylvain Poncet , Firdaus Kabirov , David Casteu , Thierry Magnaldi , Hans Stacey