Dakar: Stage eight Ghat to Sabha quotes

MOTOBIKES Giovanni Sala (KTM - n.6) 1st of the special, 5th overall "I had worries at the beginning because there was a lot of dust and then had no problems in the sand. I had a great feeling on the bike. I went 'tranquilo'." Jean Brucy (KTM -...

MOTOBIKES

Giovanni Sala (KTM - n.6)
1st of the special, 5th overall
"I had worries at the beginning because there was a lot of dust and then had no problems in the sand. I had a great feeling on the bike. I went 'tranquilo'."

Jean Brucy (KTM - n.9)
2nd of the special, 6th overall
"It's a bit of a surprise. But I knew I was doing well when I caught up the leaders at refuelling despite leaving well after them. It was a good surprise. I believe that the others looked at each other raher than racing. Very fast on most of the stage with some big dunes with good sand. The landscapes were fabulous. Winning a special? Why not... But second for a "water carrier" like myself is already excellent. I found out on the finish line that Alfie (Cox) was out. I knew he had lost himself but didnt know he was injured. It's sad for him because he's very fast. Anyhow the Dakar winner is among the four leaders overall. Who would I put my money on? Very hard to tell. I think it should be between Richard (Sainct) and Fabrizio (Meoni). But Nani (Roma) is also very fast and has never been lucky on the Dakar and it could be his year. His team mates have been pretty unlucky so maybe all the bad luck will be for them while Nani will be lucky."

Cyril Despres (KTM - n.7)
3rd of the special, 4th overall
"The two marathon stages have been set up to tire bikes and riders. And it worked out because we rode 800kms today after the 800 of yesterday. The stages are magnificent. This morning I managed no to get trapped and found the good piste despite all the bad tracks out there. I was able to catch up the leaders. Uptil now I have been present every day without using all my physical stamina. I never go faster than I should. I'm only 4 minutes behind overall and there are 4000kms left. It's impossible to make conclusions. I haven't made a lot of mistakes overall."


Nani Roma (KTM - n.4)
5th of the special, 3rd overall
"My day went easily. I stayed behind Meoni. Near the end I went full speed to overtake Meoni. There were a lot of GPS points and dust. We then went through fast dunes. The course was magnificent but we don't have a lot of time to check it out. The overall is starting to take form. Every day something happens. Until Sharm a lot of things will happen."

Fabrizio Meoni (KTM - n.1)
6th of the special, 1st overall
"Time has not come yet to look at the overall standings. Concerning the stage, we went slowly because no-one wanted to be in front. The one who leads takes maximum risks and all the others have to do is follow. At the end of the stage we attacked but it was only to earn seconds. The gaps between the leaders are slim. The organisation put a lot of GPS points. It's therefore difficult to make a difference. It's important to stay focused every day. I believe my main rivals for victory are Sainct and Roma. Despres is only just back after an injury and what he's doing is already fantastic. Concerning Alfie Cox, it's sad news. I hope he'll quickly be back with us on the tracks."

CARS


Hiroshi Masuoka (Mitsubishi - n.200)
1st of the special, 2nd overall
"I'm really happy of my day. The dunes were magnificent and the track perfect. I stayed kneck to kneck with Peterhansel during 200kms. It was fantastic. It was like in a Formula one race and the Mitsubishis are a bit like the Ferraris of the sand. Now we can't go full speed every day. We have to spare the car. The battle should be nice."

Stephane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi - n.206)
1st of the special, 2nd overall
"We were quickly caught by Masuoka. Then we tried to stick with him. We fought until the end of the special. Then we had a puncture in the last kilometres and we lost an extra four minutes. It's part of the race. An average day but what is a puncture on the full distance of the rally? When you're side to side with another competitor, it's difficult to keep your own pace. You're therefore less relaxed and can make mistakes. The fun part of it however, is that we kept on overtaking each other, four times each. A great battle, door to door in the dunes. You keep great memories of such stages. I've rarely fought like that. I even believe it's the first time in my life, I am in such a situation. Hiroshi is always ready for a good battle on such a special. We might have gone a bit too far this time, taking risks, but it finished well. It's the first year we're level with Masuoka. We have identical cars and there are no team orders. It's his 15th Dakar and my 5th on a car. For the moment I can't really say that he's the team leader. We have to make it to the rest day in a good position. We're first so far but if we were to be second, it wouldn't be a problem. We'll then see after Siwa."

-aso-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Hiroshi Masuoka , Stéphane Peterhansel , Jean Brucy , Fabrizio Meoni , Cyril Despres , Alfie Cox , Giovanni Sala , Nani Roma