Dakar: Stage 7 Zouerat to Tichit quotes

Motorcycles Cyril Desprès (FRA -- KTM -- 3rd) -- N2 - 002 The organisation said there was 100 km of camel grass, but in fact we did maybe 400-450 km in camel grass. We stayed 9h30 on the bike, just as you stay 9h30 in a fitness center. Really...

Motorcycles

Cyril Desprès (FRA -- KTM -- 3rd) -- N2 - 002
The organisation said there was 100 km of camel grass, but in fact we did maybe 400-450 km in camel grass. We stayed 9h30 on the bike, just as you stay 9h30 in a fitness center. Really a beautiful stage, very physical. With the sand wind, it's impossible to win a lot of time. You just have to stay on the bike, keep control of the handlebars, and let the wind go by. We wanted to take care of the tyres, but as we had a lot of sand, that wasn't too hard.

Fabrizio Meoni (Ita -- KTM -- 8th) -- N4 - 004
To prepare a race during a year and do such a mistake is ridiculous... I just forgot to watch the direction and GPS points, because I'm not used to this is new rule. Between, two GPS points, it was importznt to remain in the good direction, but with the camel grass, you had to go left and right, and it's very easy to lose the good way. I wasn't lost, I didn't earn winning time, but the organiser wanted to set an example to be sure everyone understood this new rule. I was just hoping to have more time to understand the rule. Apart of that, the race is going well, the bike works well, I'm in good shape, but because we rode as a bunch, we couldn't go a lot faster.

Marc Coma (SPA -- KTM -- 2nd) - 006
For me, today was the real first stage of the rally. A very long day, with some very tricky camel grass. We had some little jumps and had to ride very slowly and carefully. We rode together all the way, because it was easier to only have to follow the leader's tracks. I don't think it's that important to be the leader of the overall standings today. In fact, the most important is to have the three Repsol bikes in Tichit tonight, and each have a chance for victory. For the moment, it's time for team work, we will see later for the individual standing. Giovanni should have won today but he stopped to give Esteve fuel.

David Fretigne (FRA -- YAM -- Stage winner) - 012
It was very hard today. With all the camel grass, it was really tough to ride. We couldn't go very fast, and it was very difficult on a technical point of view. Just the camel grass was exhausting. I rode 500 km with Caldecott, Sala and Esteve Pujol, so I had to find a solution to grow a gap between them and me. I looked further in my road book and I saw that there was camel grass further. As I had good feelings and wasn't too tired, I rode at my maximum level on the camel grass and it worked. I had only one little fall, but the bike worked perfectly well, even though I didn't have the two wheel-drive system today, because my assistance hadn't the time to install it yesterday.

Cars

Stephane Peterhansel (FRA -- Mitsubishi -- Winner of the stage) - 306
It was a good day for me today, because I started first this morning and, as I can see, I'm the first on the finish line. That's a good news. The hardest thing today was to keep a good direction between the GPS points and it wasn't easy with the camel grass, and after CP3, there was only camel grass. It was impossible to drive faster than 30 or 40 km/h. The finish line was really very long to come, especially in the last part of the stage. We were alone on the track all day. We didn't see another car, but we overtook a lot of bikes. The car is simply perfect, the four spare wheels that we had in the car this morning are all still fine. That's important for tomorrow.

Hiroshi Masuoka (JAP -- Mitsubishi -- 5th of the stage) - 309
The stage wasn't so hard today. The Dakar usely offers this kind of hard course. The most important thing was to take care of the car. Even if I drive now for the team strategy, I'm still not here for a work in the park. You never know, if I take some minutes every day, maybe I still can move back to the top of the overall standings.

Jutta Kleinschmidt (GER -- VW -- 3rd of the stage) - 310
The day wasn't good at all, because I didn't take any pleasure on the tracks today with that awful camel grass. We drove carefully because there was a front wind but also because we weren't sure to have enough gasoline. My position in the overall standing is good, but I won't attack tomorrow, because I have to take care of the car. And after that, if the car is still OK, I'll try to drive faster.

Luc Alphand (FRA -- Mitsubishi -- 4th of the stage) - 312
Pfff.... What a day! If I see Zaniroli, I'll catch him and put him on the roof of my car and go like that in the camel grass. More seriously, at km 60, we made a navigation mistake. We lost maybe 15 minutes. Added to that we drove straight to very big dunes with very soft sand. We were stuck for a few minutes. And then we had a puncture, although we were going very slowly. With the sand wind, we had no visibility at all. There were no tracks on the piste. Otherwise the car is in a perfect shape. In fact it was a good day, I just have regrets about our mistake of the morning.

Nasser Al Attiyah (QAT -- BMW -- 2nd of the stage) - 318
The day was very hard, for sure the hardest since the beginning of the rally. I'm very happy to see the end of this terrible 660 km. The camel grass was terrible. I drove slowly at the end to take good care of the car. For the moment everything's alright. I had a strategy, and I followed it. Tomorrow I will still drive carefully and, if the car is still fine, I will attack in the next one. I don't really think about the victory, I just drive as well as I can.

-www.dakar.com

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Luc Alphand , Jutta Kleinschmidt , Hiroshi Masuoka , Stéphane Peterhansel , Fabrizio Meoni , Cyril Despres , Marc Coma , David Fretigne