Bike: Richard Sainct (FRA - KTM, 8th) - 001 "During 70kms, it was difficult to overtake but I knew that. You just have to wait and sometimes it lasts for long. The positive side is that I'm riding OK. I knew this morning that I would start the...
(FRA - KTM, 8th) - 001
"During 70kms, it was difficult to overtake but I knew that. You just have to wait and sometimes it lasts for long. The positive side is that I'm riding OK. I knew this morning that I would start the special despite my fall but I didn't know how I would feel. Finally, when the muscle has warmed up, it's OK. It hurts when I use the clutch and I have to hang on hard to the handle bar. In my mind, I'm in the same rhythm as the others. I hope It'll go better and better but I mustn't fall again. It's always annoying to be in Morocco 10 minutes behind, but there still is a long way. Esteve is a good outsider but for the moment we've only done one real stage."
(FRA - KTM, 4th) - 002
"It was a tricky course, like usual in Morocco. I thought it would be worse with the rain of the previous days. I lost a lot of time overtaking, especially Roeseler. I had the sun in my face added to all the dust. Then I had a free track ahead. I took it easily without making mistakes.If we start attacking like crazy now, only 12 of us will finish the rally. We're still at 96%. For Sainct, it proves that with an injury, it's difficult to be in the rhythm because in front everyone is at full speed. It's too bad for the race and for us."
(ITA - KTM, 2nd) - 003
"It was a real special today. Everything went well even though I opened the track. The Spaniards are on their training ground here. I thought I would lose between 5 and 10 minutes. Added to that my bike is not made for this kind of special. I wasn't at my maximum. If I can keep this rhythm in Morocco, I'll be very happy. Concerning Sainct, I wouldn't be too concerned by the overall. It isn't too much of a problem at this stage of the race. On the other hand I can't tell how he is physically after his fall yesterday. For me, the harder it is the better. Today was a special for children !"
Isidre Esteve Pujol
(SPA - KTM, 1st) - 019
"I'm happy. After conquering overall leadership, I clock the fastest time of the special. It shows that everything is working well, especially because it was a very rocky stage with a lot of dust. For quite some time I was blocked behind Cox, I couldn't overtake him because of the dust. He then made a navigation mistake and I was able to ride my own race. It's a team satisfaction because Roma is second. It's a real satisfaction for me because this year people trust me a lot more. Before, I was only a team mate. This year, I have a rider behind just in case something happens. It gives me confidence for the rally especially because I have a good experience of the Dakar. Navigation and the long stages in Mauritania don't worry me."
(AUS - KTM, 5th). - 072
"I enjoyed most of it. I got lost and probably lost around 3 or 4 minutes. But I was hoping to finish in the good positions. It was a good solid ride. No worries ! Nothing really concerns me but the goal is to finish. We want to finish because we spent a lot of money to come. We don't want to throw it away. I'm not really used to these specials compared to the other guys. They know it by heart because it is the same as in the Morocco rally and in the previous years of the Dakar. The longest special I had ever done was over 300km in Dubai. This is different."
(JAP - Mitsubishi, 2nd) - 201
"It was an easy special. We went through all the situations the Dakar can offer : sand, wind, rocks. I went carefully and only drove at 50% of my possibility. The result is due to the excellent car. I'll try to have the same kind of special tomorrow."
(FRA - Mitsubishi, 1st) - 203
"It was a stage that we know well. I was driving at a consistent rhythm because it was important not to have punctures. I didn't think the gaps would be so big. I thought the Nissans would go full speed. We had a problem with the gear box at 80kms of the bivouac. We had to push the vehicle to the check point. It wasn't easy because the road was going uphill. Andrea Mayer pushed us with her car. It's annoying but we'll understand tonight what happened. I hope it's the first and last time."
(RSA -- Nissan, 20th) - 205
"After 20 or 30kms, we saw that the two front tyres were flat. I told myself that we were really unlucky. Ten kilometres later, the front left wheel was flat. Actually the inflation-deflation system was switching on automatically. We therefore deflated the back tyres not to have further bad surprises. It's annoying but we can still catch up lost time. President Chirac's fax was very nice. I couldn't believe it. Actually I never received a congratulation letter from Finland's president."
Giniel De Villiers
(RSA -- Nissan, 3rd) - 208
"There was so much dust ! We even had to stop because we couldn't see anything. And we got lost a bit. I believe we probably lost around 6min. I can't believe how fast Peter went. He must have known the area !!!"
Gregoire De Mevius
(FRA - BMW, 5th) - 212
"We went quickly but not like crazy ! It's too bad but we lost a lot of time because of the bikes. There are a lot of newcomers and it isn't easy to overtake them. I didn't want to hurt them. I'm surprised by the times of the Mitsubishi cars. We thought we would concede 4 or 5 minutes but not 14. Either the others have a great car or they're taking major risks."
Andre De Azevedo
(BRA -- Tatra, 7th) - 412
"A lot of dust. We caught up the bikes. We even hit a bike (N°81) but then had an explanation and it's OK. There's a real battle between the Daf and the Kamaz trucks. We have our own rhythm and are careful. I'm impressed by Tchaguine. He really wants his 4th crown. We have ambitions for the long stages but we'll have to wait for the others to have problems. We have to find the good mix between safety and accuracy."
Gerard De Rooy
(NED -- DAF, 2nd) - 417
"It was a good day. Everything went well. I didn't make any mistakes. There were a few dunes so we could have fun. Unfortunately it was too short. I'm happy to be in Africa because now the rally has really started."