MOTOBIKES: Cox (KTM - n.2) 1st of the special, 4th overall "Honestly there were no problems. After the first 70kms, there were a few dunes but all you had to do was read the road-book. From the refuel Cyril (despres) and I gave everything and...
Cox (KTM - n.2)
1st of the special, 4th overall
"Honestly there were no problems. After the first 70kms, there were a few dunes but all you had to do was read the road-book. From the refuel Cyril (despres) and I gave everything and I'm sure I've won today. Meoni has he upper hand on us because he's a little more experienced but Sainct is doing well also after a great year. The bottom line is that you have to put the presure on and hopefully somebody will be in trouble. I hope not me. It's the only way."
Cyril Despres (KTM - n.7)
5th of the special, 5th overall
"Very fast in the first 100kms. It was quite foggy this morning and it was hard to see the bumps. At refuelling, Cox caught up with me. We spoke together and decided to try and catch the 'planes' in front. It was really easy maybe to try and make things gradually tougher every day. With Alfie, I did the first part in front and then he took over, a bit like in a cycling race. 228kms was nothing at all. To go and get my 'baguette' (bread) in the morning it's long, but on the Dakar it's nothing."
Nani Roma (KTM - n.4)
2d of the special, 2nd overall
"The special was eaisier than I expected. I quickly caught up with Sainct and Meoni. Then we stayed together for 80kms. It's pointless taking too many risks to earn 10 seconds. Tomorrow another race starts. This year a twin or single cylinder bike can win. The advantage of the twin is that you can go full speed everyday without worrying about an engine problem. The small gaps in the overall are not a surprise. Since the start, we've only done 5 specials. It's impossible to make the difference on these short distances."
Meoni (KTM - n.1)
4th of the special, 3rd overall
"Today was a walk in the park. When we gathered together, no-one wanted to go too fast not to take any risks. In the dunes, all the work is for the first guy, the others only have to follow. For the moment, the only important thing is to stay in the leading bunch. Being first overall has no importance. Tomorrow, if there's a lot of sand and dunes, the biker that is behind will catch up the guy in front of him. It's good for Sainct who will be behind me in the special. On the oher hand Roma will leave four minutes in front of me. And that's good news. I absolutely want to catch him up. If there are dunes it'll be easy. If I catch him up it'll mean that I win 4 minutes on him. That only works out if there is sand. On harder surfaces, we're all on the same level."
Sainct (KTM - n.3)
5th of the special, 1st overall
"A very fast special. It's difficult to make a difference when you're opening the course. For those behind, it's a lot easier. I knew that Meoni and Roma would catch me up. We carried on together on a good rythm until the finish. There was nothing else we could do. Tomorrow will be a longer stage and there could be big gaps."
Stephane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi) - Fra - n206
1st of the special, 1st overall
"We started wih 80kms of sandy tracks where it wasn't easy to make he difference. We then went off-road with dunes and long valleys with the slightest trap. Today we were crossing every dune on the correct side, the steepest one. We saw Masuoka after 150kms and we tried to catch him up. Eventually we came back but never catching him completely. Our average speed was of 110 km/h with high speeds at 160. In he dunes it's pointless going to fast. The days go on and all look alike. We have a good pace. But I can't tell that we're having fun in front. In tomorrow's marathon stage, we will take things differently. In the other days we knew that the car could be repared in the evening, but there we'll have to be careful."
Stephane Henrard (Volkswagen) - Bel - n215
8th of the special, 7th overall
"The terrain was well adapted for our buggy with a lot of dune crossings. But the major part of the special was very fast. And on such a track, our little buggy is not fast enough. We couldn't expect miracles. The other competitors are very impressive with perfectly prepared cars. We came to the Dakar with a little engine but that is secure. I don't think it''ll be enough to finish on the podium. Added to that, our team is new with 95% of the guys discovering the desert. It's a nice first experience."
Jutta Kleinschmidt (Volkswagen) - Ger - n203
7th of the special, 10th overall
"Today, like yesterday, the car went well. We are now in the real Dakar and I hope I can carry on like this. Of course the Mitsubishis are faster. Our buggy is doing well but lacks in speed because of the small engine. It's only a 1.9 liter. We're slightly behind but it's only the first race of this car."
Gregoire De Mevius (BMW) - Bel - n205
3rd of the special, 3rd overall
"We found the good pace. We had two big scares on jumps and we hit the front of the car. If I had gone 10% faster, we could have had serious worries. The car is very good on fast tracks. It's the first time a diesel car has a leading role in the Dakar. It's so good that sometimes we forget it's a diesel. We have to work on the suspensions. On the track we drove with Shinozuka. Every time there was sand where good suspensions are needed, I could see him catching up. On the other hand on long hard surfaces, I would increase the gap. We have years of work to have Mitsubishi's excellent suspensions. They must have learnt a lot from last year. They know things but won't tell us."
Ari Vatanen (Nissan) - Fin - n204
5th of the special, 8th overall
"I honestly believe that there's nothing we can do against the Mitsubishis of Peterhansel and Masuoka. They are on another planet. They have vehicles from the new generation based on the ones used for the WRC rallies. Exactly like Citroen and Peugeot used to do before them. They're ahead of us but for everything else we're very good. It's olny the first event we're doing and one can't ask for too much. Rally raids are changing. In a few years, it'll be as interesting as WRC rally. Concerning the next two days we can say a lot of politically correct things but the truth is that everyone will give the maximum. If we start looking at each other and using tactics , it's pointless. The cars are strong so we'll attack. We'll try to avoid breaking down and making silly mistakes. Concerning myself, I hope things will be better in two days. If it's not the case, I'll have to accept it."
Gerard De Rooy (DAF - n.412)
1st of the special, 2nd overall
"I overtook Loprais in the dunes. He had problems going over the dunes and had to take different paths, going forwards and backwards. We went over full speed ahead. Sand and dunes are our kind of terrain. We can go quickly. Tomorrow if the surface stays the same, I hope we can manage the same kind of performance."
Jan De Rooy (DAF - n.409)
2nd of the special, 1st overall
"It was a great day for us. A special with a lot of sand and dunes that suits the truck perfectly. We went really quickly and showed the power of our DAF. It's a great day for my son and myself. But we remain realistic. In this special we won 15 mnutes on our rivals but overall it doesn't mean anything. The upcoming two days will be important. I am very proud of Gerardus. He's doing well and is an excellent pilot."
Andre De Azevedo (Tatra - n.410)
3rd of the special, 4th overall
"This morning, we overtook Loprais and Kabirov but were caught up by the two De Rooys who were really fast. The Dakar and its real tracks has started today. The truck is doing well and we hope there will be more difficulties in the days to come with a lot of dunes."