Bike Richard Sainct (FRA - KTM, 1st) - 001 "I didn't expect it to go that well today. But in the sand, my arm is less painful than on rocky paths. I was already tired this morning at the start. Now I'm exhausted. My back is aching. I don't ...
(FRA - KTM, 1st) - 001
"I didn't expect it to go that well today. But in the sand, my arm is less painful than on rocky paths. I was already tired this morning at the start. Now I'm exhausted. My back is aching. I don't expect to see a lot of competitors at the finish of the stage. Especially the privateers ! I had problems and I have quite some experience, those who don't will be in trouble. Concerning myself, I feel better and better. If I manage to gain as many minutes everyday, I can be optimistic."
(FRA - KTM, 3rd) - 002
"We started in first positions. It was very difficult, very physical. From the start, I was lost on a wrong track but I didn't panic. We managed to get back on track but lost some energy. It was tough for us and we have good bikes, know how to ride them well, had sufficient rest and have good assistance whereas the privateers... This special will remain in the history books. I can't remember riding such a tough one."
(ITA - KTM, 34th) - 003
"I had a bib mousse problem and once again I won't achieve a good result this year. I was really motivated. Once again, it's a mechanical problem, like last year. I don't have long before the end of my career and it could be a sign saying "stop" ! After last year's Dakar, I found it hard to have the will to start again. I told myself that if I won this year, I would quit. If I didn't I would carry on for another year. Now I don't know. I won't take a decision now. Tomorrow, I'll be back on my bike to try and have fun, go at a good rhythm and especially finish in Dakar."
(SPA - KTM, 5th) - 004
"It was a very difficult day for me. To start at 2 in the morning is really tough. Riding alone in front is also very tiring, especially with the others behind catching up time. But that's the real Dakar, with worries every day. It isn't only speed. There were visibility problems. Added to that, the police stopped me. They wanted my passport and 50 Euros. I started getting angry and took off. They didn't catch me but I was rather worried because they had guns."
(RSA - KTM, 4th) - 010
"Half of the field will never make it today ! It's impossible. Those who will finish late won't see anything in the dark. This is the kind of day that shows how hard the Dakar is... I lost 5min helping Meoni who had tyre problems."
(FRA - Schlesser Ford, 3rd) - 200
"We didn't meet any big difficulties. We just damaged the rear tyre but that's nothing. The car works well. In this kind of special, one has to keep a good rhythm all day. If you don't you're quickly adrift. In 2001, we went through the same erg but this time the sand was a lot softer. It's getting tougher. We managed to climb up the standings but the two Mitsubishi cars are untouchable. It'll depend on their mistakes."
(JAP - Mitsubishi, 1st) - 201
"It was an easy special although there were some difficult parts. The dunes were very soft and that gave us problems to get to the top. The first part was however very fast and technical. The competition should be very tough but I think my main rival will be Peterhansel."
(UK -- Nissan, 5th) - 202
"Everything was going well at the beginning. We were in a group of four cars : with Masuoka, Peterhansel and Schlesser, close to each other in the dunes. Unfortunately in the last dune, we got stuck and lost around 20 minutes. The speed of Peter in the dunes is unbelievable. I was surprised. For the moment everything is possible. I'm still learning."
(FRA - Mitsubishi, 2nd) - 203
"I'm happy to make it. I thought the course would be faster. The truth is that it was very technical. We had a puncture after 500kms after we had overtaken De Villiers and McRae. We lost our focus and got lost. It's a pity. We had a good start but a bad finish. There still are a lot of big stages so it doesn't matter. The next two ones should be very tough. We'll be driving 2 or 3 hours more on the same amount of kilometres."
Gregoire De Mevius
(FRA - BMW, 4th) - 212
"A lot of privateers will finish the Dakar here. We drove well but I had one or two frights on dune jumps. Concerning the standing, we took off behind Peterhansel and I thought we could catch up. In the Dubai rally, we had managed to catch him, but I wonder if it wasn't bluff. The Mitsubishi cars are just too fast. It isn't over for us but with the experience that the two leading drivers have and the gap hey managed, we'll have to wait for a big problem on their behalf. It's like last year. We thought we could compete with them but we were naïve."
Andre De Azevedo
(BRA -- Tatra, 2nd) - 412
"It was a day with no surprises. Navigation proved to be key. I didn't see anyone on the way. I believe that a lot of competitors followed their GPS whereas I went by the road book. They didn't take the right course. We could have done better but we had to stop because the door wouldn't close properly. The course was made to eliminate a lot of competitors, although I think it could have been even tougher. I hope it'll carry on like that."
Gerard De Rooy
(NED -- DAF, 3rd) - 417
"It was a good day. The last part was difficult and very technical with soft sand. I was stuck at 10kms of the last CP. It was tough but the most important is that we're still here. I had a good battle with Tchaguine in the dunes. We overtook each other at numerous times. I drive my own race and the most important is to get to Dakar, without wanting to be on the podium."