PortimÃ£o to MÃ¡laga Sunday January 7, 2007 Connection: 15 km - Special: 67 km - Connection: 463 km Total: 545 km Bike: Helder Rodrigues (POR -- YAM -- Winner of the special stage) It was a magnificent special stage today, I didn't have the ...
Portimão to Málaga
Sunday January 7, 2007
Connection: 15 km - Special: 67 km - Connection: 463 km
Total: 545 km
Helder Rodrigues (POR -- YAM -- Winner of the special stage)
It was a magnificent special stage today, I didn't have the slightest problem. I was aiming to hit hard straight away in the first special stage, but I missed out on victory by 16 seconds. In the end, I'm just as happy to win today's special. Now, roll on Africa: I'll see what I'm capable of there on a day to day basis.
Ruben Faria (POR -- KTM -- 2nd)
I had a fall during today's special stage and even hurt my knee. So, it wasn't as good as yesterday. I just hope the injury isn't too bad. I'm not totally reassured, so I'm going to go to hospital to have a few examinations and see just what's up. Even so, I thought it was a great stage again.
David Frétigné (FRA -- YAM -- 8th)
Unlike yesterday, I haven't had any problems with the brakes and that changes everything. The special stage was very selective, with lots of pitfalls. In particular, it was very slippery. What's more, I saw that Cyril (Despres) had a fall. Overall, the stage helped me get the feel of the bike. These stages are very complicated to handle, because you can lose a lot if you take risks, but it is also important to already be putting in good performances. It's rather difficult, but that's part of the race.
Fabien Planet (FRA - KTM -- 6th)
This last Portuguese stage went okay. It was even very good, since I've finished 3 seconds behind Marc Coma. I'm happy with this beginning to my first Dakar. It's positive especially since I'm on my own with my mechanic and its sometimes a little hectic. I can't wait to get stuck into the Moroccan stages now and get a taste of Africa.
Cyril Despres (FRA - KTM Gauloises -- 24th)
After 30 kilometres, on a very short tarmac section, just 2 kilometres perhaps, I braked a little because someone came out onto the road a bit to take a photo. The bike started skidding though, like as if I was on ice. I wasn't injured, but it shows I was right to choose an off-roader! Otherwise, it was a nice stage to ride, even if it was slippery. I was really enjoying myself until the fall.
Carlos Sainz (SPA - VW -- 1st)
There were many types of tracks today and so many levels of grip. At places, the wheels were spinning a lot and the road was narrow. It was a nice stage but not an easy one! Generally speaking, I enjoyed the Portuguese stages more than last year and we are happy with our results. As a conclusion, the car is competitive and we managed these two days in Portugal quite well.
Joan " Nani " Roma (SPA -- Mitsubishi -- 2nd)
It sounds like a cliché, but one can loose the race in this type of special. It was a very technical race, very Portuguese, as last year. The type of terrain changed many times, it can be dangerous. Let me tell that this year the Dakar has shot off at top speed and I really have the feeling the pace veil remain very high. We already had a great time driving on these stages. Even Morocco can make the difference this year, because the other teams are extremely well prepared.
Luc Aphand (FRA -- MIT -- 3rd)
I was a bit disappointed yesterday. But it is never a piece of cake when you start first on this kind of special. Today the objective was to catch the train and avoid ending up too far away from the leaders even if the race is still long. We did quite a good race. We drove well. And concerning the car, everything is fine. This is a new car, so we need to learn to trust it and to know it.
Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA -- MIT -- 4th)
It was quite a good special for me, a lot better than yesterday. It was like a real WRC race, slippery and technical. But I didn't go for all out attack since we don't have an assistance truck at the end of the special stage, so we need to look after the car. I'm playing it defensively. The pace is the same as usual: very fast. I've decided to keep something in reserve.
Carlos Sousa (POR - VW -- 9th)
Today was a stage for the sprinters. Everyone attacked. And in such conditions, when you are the first car to start it isn't the best position to set a good time. But I'm happy, because I didn't lose too much on the others. There were a lot of people and the surface was very slippery. But it went well and the car is behaving nicely.
Guerlain Chicherit (FRA -- BMW -- 8th)
I hadn't planned to attack to day. We drove to enjoy ourselves. It's the type of route that I love. It recalls fond memories of my years in the French rally championship. We were stuck behind a Volkswagen for almost 30 km. They only let us pass at the end. I did get a bit angry...