Dakar: Stage nine Sabha to Zilla quotes

MOTOBIKES Richard Sainct (KTM - n.3) 1st of the special, 1st overall "A very fast special in the first part. We went full speed for half of the special. Roma then fell. Fabrizio (Meoni) stopped. I also stopped. We then carried on with Meoni. The...


Richard Sainct (KTM - n.3)
1st of the special, 1st overall
"A very fast special in the first part. We went full speed for half of the special. Roma then fell. Fabrizio (Meoni) stopped. I also stopped. We then carried on with Meoni. The second part was a lot more technical. Unfortunately I had a little fall and twisted the bike. I had problems riding and it's too bad because the second half could have suited the bike well. We made it to the finish with Meoni. The overall doesn't mean anything yet. All has still to be done. We have to wait. It's difficult to tell today what can happen."

Fabrizio Meoni (KTM - n.1)
2nd of the special, 2nd overall
"I was really scared for Nani (Roma). When such an accident happens in a place where the average speed was of 160km/h, you think of the fact that you could have been in his place. That's why you think about it and for the next kilometres you don't ride in a relaxed way. The other problem was fatigue because we did more than 250kms on tracks full of stone. Very tricky vulcanic stones. It was crazy because I was only using the first and the second gear. Not really a track for rally raid bikes or trucks and cars. Yesterday, we were told that the special would be hard but I didn't find it hard. Today, they said it was easier and I found it very difficult. I arrived on the scene of Nani's crash 30sec after. I believe he was maybe in the dust made by other bikes. It was a very flat portion but at a moment there were big rocks. Nani who was in the dust probably didn't see them. I don't know if he hit the rocks or hit the brakes. We were at around 140 km/h. He was 20m in front of the bike on the floor. The bike was destroyed. I couldn't even find where the destress signal was. For 2 minutes, he was unconscious. He then started moving without saying a word. I saw he was holding his arm. I told him to drink and not to move. Marc Coma arrived on the scene followed by Sainct. Marc told us he was staying with Nani and that we could go. I then started thinking how unlucky Nani was on the Dakar. The problem is that he has a lot of pressure. Maybe it's also destiny. When you're in the dust at 140km/h, skills, training have no effect. The race is secondary. I have to say "bravo" to the other guys and Richard (Sainct) because they slowed down the pace and didn't take advantage of the fact i had stopped for Nani."


Ari Vatanen (Nissan - n.204)
1st of the special, 12th overall
"The best news of the day is that Shinozuka is no longer in danger. When I had the news this morning it was fantastic. During the night, I woke up at 4h and kept thinking about him and it hurt. I overtook a lot of competitors and went full speed. There was a lot of dust and we were forced to stop because we couldn't see where we were going. I remain very surprised by the result. My victory is for Shino. Compared to life, winning a special is nothing. I am very happy today and when you're in such a state of happiness, you're even better behind the steering wheel. Based on this Dakar 2003, it's good to beat the Mitsubishis. On the last 10kms of the special there was a nice bump and we made a great jump. The Lybian fans on the side of the road were delighted. In the last kilometre, there were great turns, I couldn't help putting the car sideways. The organisers were realy happy despite all the dust I put in their faces. "

Hiroshi Masuoka (Mitsubishi - n.200)
8th of the special, 2nd overall
"It wasn't a difficult day, I just had bad luck. Fontenay's help? Good timing..."

Stephane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi - n.206)
3rd of the special, 1st overall
"We drove at our own pace because I knew that the special was full of traps and stones. Going fast is risky. Our strategy worked out because we gain time on Masuoka. A good day despite not attacking. On the Dakar, it's with this type of strategy that one manages the best performances. 16 minutes is not a lot. When Masuoka decides to go mad it can hurt and he can put everyone twenty minutes behind. There still are a lot of kms left. A lot of things can happen but I prefer my position than his."

Gregoire De Mevius (BMW - n.205)
4th of the special, 3rd overall
On the Dakar, it's important not to think too much. Sometimes we don't necesseraly see things that were said during briefings. There were a lot of stones and therefore a lot of possibilities to puncture. We did the stage together with Luc (Alphand). It's great to have him helping me out. He works well. Winning a special is not an obsession. We have a new team with a new car. We go at our own pace. And that's already very fast. Now, we're ging to do our best to keep our position until the finish. We're not yet at the level of the Mitsubishi Evos. We race the Dakar looking at what is going on behind us. That's our tactic for this year. For the future we might have other ambitions."

Jean-Pierre Fontenay (Mitsubishi - n.202)
2nd of the special, 6th overall
"Ari's victory isn't really a surprise. We did what we had to do and the day's been positive. We helped everyone, especially Masuoka. I'm not disappointed at all. It doesn't matter. Ari drove well and did a good race."

Luc Alphand (BMW - n.221)
10th of the special, 21st overall
"The first 200kms were very fast. Then the landscapes looked like the moon, with stones, stones and more stones. A lot of turns. We even had to go back to where we had come from. For the bikers, it must have been a nightmare. Concerning the cars, the day was a story of punctures. We drove well behind De Mevius. I had the best time at al CPs. Then we punctured twice including once in the last 10kms. It doesn't matter. We also had to stop to work on the car and we lost an extra 10 minutes. I'm still learning. I'm very happy because since Dubai, the tea has worked a lot. From now on, I'm on the rally to help out the boss (De Mevius)."


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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Luc Alphand , Hiroshi Masuoka , Stéphane Peterhansel , Jean-Pierre Fontenay , Ari Vatanen , Fabrizio Meoni , Richard Sainct , Marc Coma