Dakar: Stage 8 Atar to Tidjikja quotes

Bike Richard Sainct (FRA - KTM, 3rd) - 001 "There was a lot of wind and a lot of dust. Navigation wasn't easy. The sand was too soft. It was a shorter stage than yesterday but a lot harder. I didn't have the intention to go fast. I was tired...

Bike

Richard Sainct (FRA - KTM, 3rd) - 001
"There was a lot of wind and a lot of dust. Navigation wasn't easy. The sand was too soft. It was a shorter stage than yesterday but a lot harder. I didn't have the intention to go fast. I was tired and focused on navigation. As the track was difficult I focused on staying on the good course. The others, behind, were in my wheel. Although I wasn't fast today, I had a good day."

Cyril Despres (FRA - KTM, 24th) - 002
"It was the worst day of my life. I had problems with my glasses so I decided to stop but fell at a very slow pace. Nothing serious except that with my knee I pulled the GPS connexion. I couldn't reconnect it, so I got lost. Each time I saw a KTM rider I would follow him, but each time we got lost again. That lasted 50kms. Because of that, I ran out of fuel, 1.2km from refuelling. Luckily, someone helped me reconnect the GPS and gave me fuel. There are days were everything goes wrong. It's also my fault. I never should have followed the others."

Fabrizio Meoni (ITA - KTM, 4th) - 003
"It was a real trial special, but not on the road book. It was still a nice special with a lot of navigation. It's a shame I made a mistake. Because of the camel grass and the wind, it was difficult to see the tracks. Two things disturbed me. First of all, I hadn't worked properly on the road book and that's my fault. My trip broke two or three times. I don't understand why. I would repair it and a few kilometres later, it would break again. Because of that, I got lost in the wadi. I decided to take a risk and carry on. A lot of riders followed my (Cox, Flick). It was a good day. I did better than yesterday !"

Nani Roma (SPA - KTM, 1st) - 004
"When you finish well this kind of special, you're really happy to make it. It was a lot tougher today : not as long but more technical and the wind made things complicated. From the start it was impossible to follow the tracks so you had to be very good in navigation. I believe that a lot must have got lost before CP1. I'm delighted to take the lead in the overall, but everyone knows that it doesn't mean anything. Here, on one day you're on top and the next you're a sh... It happened to Esteve yesterday, now to Despres. Every leader has a problem the following day !"

Jean Brucy (FRA - KTM, 2nd) - 009
"It was really difficult to find the way out of the wadi this morning. I was lucky to be behind Sainct long enough because with the wind the tracks tend to disappear. It's in that kind of situation where I see how important my experience of the Dakar is. I know the area well now. It's good to be 3rd overall, but I can very well be 10th tomorrow."

Car

Jean-Louis Schlesser (FRA - Schlesser Ford, 4th) - 200
"Anyhow, on this rally, only three drivers know how to navigate : Jutta, Masuoka and Peter. All the others got lost, including myself and it cost us 30min. But I can't blame my co-pilot. It's annoying because at the end of the day, we're 3rd overall, which is good but we're at 25min of the Belgian (De Mevius). If we hadn't made a mistake we could have been at 5min or even second. But it isn't over."

Hiroshi Masuoka (JAP - Mitsubishi, 12th) - 201
"It's over. I can't fight for victory. It's now impossible to catch Peterhansel. I had a gearbox problem. I had to wait for Mayer to push me and I was able to restart. I'll fight for second place."

Stephane Peterhansel (FRA - Mitsubishi, 1st) - 203
"It's the first real hard day. When we were driving we thought we were losing time, because we also got lost but we told ourselves that as long as we're progressing and have no problem, it's not too bad. We were careful. We had a relaxed rhythm, we knew that the others were behind so we controlled the race. There will be no assistance tonight and tomorrow we have a marathon stage, so we had to take it easy. Compared to yesterday, I only went once in to 6th gear today. I was always in 2nd or 3rd. It's frustrating to drive at only 30km/h. There is no pleasure."

Jutta Kleinschmidt (GER -- Volkswagen, 2nd) - 204
"It was a difficult stage but we handled it well. We managed an excellent first part but unfortunately got lost after CP2. It must have cost us 20min. We're however satisfied with our race. I'm happy for the team and the mechanics. The car is new. We're here to test it for the future. It's important to do kilometres to compare ourselves with the others. I think I'll fight for victory in 2005. The standing this year has no importance."

Gregoire De Mevius (FRA - BMW, 3rd) - 212
"It wasn't a special for me. I don't like driving in soft sand and wadis. I like going fast. We did less kilometres today but almost have the same time as yesterday. It was a nightmare to find the good track. But despite the impressive rock fields, we did rather well. I took it easy at the end because we were lacking of fuel. It's a good achievement overall. This kind of stage must exist. The Dakar has to be difficult to remain a legendary race. But I'm however starting to count the days."

Truck

Andre De Azevedo (BRA -- Tatra, 3rd) - 412
"It's the first day I have a mechanical problem. First of all, I got stuck in the soft sand. Then at around km 200, I had a puncture on a back tyre. I went on a 1m high rock. It was difficult to find the good track. But it's OK. I was expecting a hard stage to compete with the other trucks. We went at 80% of our possibilities not to damage the vehicle, keeping in mind the upcoming marathon stage. I'm satisfied with our consistence. But to be first, I can only count on possible problems of the others."

-aso-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Jean-Louis Schlesser , Jutta Kleinschmidt , Hiroshi Masuoka , Stéphane Peterhansel , Jean Brucy , Fabrizio Meoni , Cyril Despres , Richard Sainct , Nani Roma