Dakar: Stage 8 Atar to Nouakchott quotes

Stage 8: Atar - Nouakchott January 7, 2006 Connection 34 km - Special 508 km - Connection 26 km Total 568 km Bike: David Casteu (FRA -- KTM -- 1st) "Reaching the rest day and winning a special, it's unbelievable. I am very lucky. I have been...

Stage 8: Atar - Nouakchott
January 7, 2006
Connection 34 km - Special 508 km - Connection 26 km
Total 568 km


David Casteu (FRA -- KTM -- 1st)
"Reaching the rest day and winning a special, it's unbelievable. I am very lucky. I have been day-dreaming since last December. It is a bit like a Christmas present that I would receive everyday. This morning, I punctured and had to repair alone in the desert. Then, I caught up Cyril whose navigation has been incredible until the finish. We rode together, and at the end, I win my first stage on the Dakar. When I was a kid, I was dreaming it could happen to me, and today my dream comes true. Even if I belong to an official team, I still consider myself as an amateur. I visit the riders at the "malle moto" every day to share my dream with those who struggle every day to get to the stage arrival, exactly as I used to not so long ago. But today, what a pleasure!"

Isidre Estve Pujol (ESP -- KTM -- 4th)
"I fell on stones 20 kilometres before the start of the special, and I broke my road-book. And then, it has been very stressing until the end of the stage. It had to strictly follow the track otherwise I would have surely got lost. I throttled as much as I could to catch up Marc Coma, what I managed to do at the refuelling at kilometre 175. It has been a big relief. Now, I am 6' adrift Coma at the overall. At half the way to Dakar, everything is OK and we have a great fight. I would really like to underline Cyril's performance. It is an exploit that he knew he had to make for the team before the rest day. And he did it. So, congratulation!"

Chris Blais (USA - KTM -- 2nd)
"My stomach was painful at the beginning of the stage, I had to stop at km 60 because of that. Then I rode at my own pace and I did my own navigation. When I headed to way point just before CP2, I noticed that Cyril (Despres) was turning around, he seemed to get lost. I didn't change my direction and I clocked the second best time at CP2 and nothing changed until the end of the stage. I had great fun to ride in dunes today but I'm also glad to have a rest tomorrow. This is a good opportunity to get out of the stress and to be back in the race with ambition. My goal remains to reach Dakar in a better position as the one I had last year at the overall standing (9th)."

Cyril Despres (FRA - KTM - 3rd)
"Frankly, I am relieved to be here. To honest, this morning, I was on the verge of giving up. My shoulder still hurts but, above all, I have been suffering from a very painful wrist tendonitis since Morocco. It's getting worse and worse everyday. The only reason I took the start this morning is as a tribute to Fabrizio (Meoni) who died on this stage last year. It was my only motivation. In the first kilometres, I rode very safely and a load of riders overtook me. When I arrived at CP1, I realised that there were about twenty riders ahead. So, I pushed myself to go further. Then, at kilometre 250, the guys in front of the race made a navigation mistake. I seized this opportunity to catch up some of them just before negotiating the first dunes. At this moment, I was not suffering that much so I got on the gas. But I fell. I lifted the bike up using mental strength and continued slower. At kilometre 287, we had to find a hidden waypoint. I thought it was on the left. Then I saw De Gavardo, who had started twenty minutes before me, coming back from the right side. It confirmed my first idea and so I headed that way. When I arrived at the waypoint, I saw that there was no other track. I continued without attacking too much and at CP2, there were only three riders left ahead. It cheered me up and as soon as we got off the dunes, I attacked as much as I could until the arrival. It is the first time I suffered that much on the bike. The pain completely exhausted me, both physically and psychologically. I don't exactly how I feel and how I managed to reach Nouakchott. Now, I am looking forward to seing Doctor Olivier Dufour. Actually, the rest day arrives right on time for me. Even if I suffered a lot, my opponents lost about 15 minutes on me today as a proof that anything can still happen. It is a ray of hope."

Marc Coma (SPA- KTM - 5th)
"The 150 first kilometres were very complicated. There were many mountains and then the desert. Then, surely because of too much confidence, we made a huge navigation mistake and lost more than ten minutes looking for the good way. Then, everything went on well normally. But first of all I would like to congratulate Cyril for what he has been doing since he fell."


Luc Alphand (FRA -- Mitsubishi -- 5th)
"We headed to the right at the hidden way point at kilometre 287. There was an erg with very soft dunes to absolutely avoid. Actually, you only have to pass one kilometre on the left to make sure not to have any problem. But we rode straight to it. We remained stuck in a very soft little dune. We had to use the sand plaques and dig for twenty minutes. It is a pity but it is part of the game. In fact, what most bothers me is that I lose the lead at overall for less than 30 seconds in favour of
"Peter". But, obviously, everything is OK thanks to the whole team who made a very good stage."

Nani Roma (SPA - Mitsubishi - 5th)
"You always make mistakes in such a stage. It is part of the Dakar. In fact, you only have to analyse them, as every other day. Actually, I am quite happy. I looked for the hidden way point at kilometre 287 for long minutes and then got stuck in the sand. As an idiot. But that's the race, the real race. In Morocco, everyone could drive fast. But now we are in Mauritania where most of the final classification should be decided. So let's enjoy the bivouac."

Stephane Peterhansel (FRA -- Mitsubishi -- 2nd ex-aequo)
"The stage was supposed to be difficult today until we complicated it ourselves by missing the good way to negotiate the dunes. So we went off the track, in a very soft sand, and quickly got stuck. It has been very good sport, especially for Jean-Paul who had to run after the car with the sand plaques on his back. This mistake coasted us about 15 minutes plus a u-turn to find the good way. But the good thing is that Jutta followed us in this wrong way and remained stuck for a while. Then, as everyone, we looked for the waypoint at kilometre 287, but we didn't lose too much time. Actually at half the way to Dakar, the situation is almost ideal. We had problems in Morocco but now that the real race has begun in Mauritania, our position has clearly evolved in a way. We were 9th at the overall two days ago, 2nd yesterday and 1st today. It quite good even if the gap with Luc (Alphand) is still very tiny. But I insist on the fact that it is not a strategy that we would have prepared before the rally. I had rather reach the rest day with a 15 minutes advantage. In fact the plan was to eliminate our rivals before battling it out between us. So far, that is more or less the actual scenario, even if we still have to keep an eyes on Giniel (De Villiers)."

Thierry Magnaldi (FRA -- Schlesser-Ford -- 1st)
"I woke up this morning telling my teammates that we would have to win the stage in order to have a nice week-end. We made it, it's our second victory in Africa. It's great but it's also too bad that Jean-Louis (Schlesser) could not follow us when we overtook him. Finishing 1st and 2nd would have been fantastic for our team ! Globally, our navigation was excellent today, we succeeded in dunes where the others failed to find their way around km 240. Apart of that, we were stuck in dunes for some time and we had a technical problem with the gear box. We were very close to win a speciale stage in Morocco and yesterday we made a tactical choice to help each other with Jean-Louis. The stage Nouakchott-kiffa and Guinea will be interesting. "

Jean-Jacques Ratet (FRA -- Toyota -- 1st Production class)
"We were stuck in dunes at km 70 and we needed 30 minutes to get out of it. I was so disappointed because of that mistake. There were only three navigation traps in this speciale stage. Globally, we did quite well today. When we arrived at the bivouac, we've been said that we were the leader of the T2 category, which surprised me a lot."


Firdaus Kabirov (RUS -- Kamaz -- 1st)
"That was a good day for us because we didn't make any mistake and that was the most important thing today. Our result relied mostly on navigation. Some pilots preferred to drive off-road in order to find out hidden way points. We focused on the road-book. Hans Stacey also drove like us and it finally worked. This stage proves again that there are some traps within the so-called "easy" speciale. Moreover, I am glad because this is the first time in the race that I don't have any technical issue."

Vladimir Chagin (RUS -- Kamaz -- 3rd )
"We have once again been generous with our rivals today. We gave them 40' yesterday and 52' today. It is stressing since we fight for 5' or 10' minutes every day. God took me in one day what he gave me on the six first stages. At last, it could be worse. We still have a 30' advantage on Kabirov and 45' on Stacey. The second week will terrific. On Monday we will start with the longest, what could be very difficult. With Kabirov, Stacey and Loprais, we are four to battle for victory and I could easily lose everything in one stage."


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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Luc Alphand , Stéphane Peterhansel , Cyril Despres , Nani Roma , Marc Coma , Chris Blais , Vladimir Chagin , Firdaus Kabirov , David Casteu , Thierry Magnaldi , Hans Stacey