Welcome rest day in Chile for KTM's Dakar stars After seven days hard riding the four KTM factory riders are resting up in Valparaiso on the Chilean coast before tackling the remaining six days of racing. Riders still have plenty to occupy ...
Welcome rest day in Chile for KTM's Dakar stars
After seven days hard riding the four KTM factory riders are resting up in Valparaiso on the Chilean coast before tackling the remaining six days of racing.
Riders still have plenty to occupy themselves during the day off and to prepare for the second half of the race. The first week of this South American Dakar was supposed to be a 'gentle' warm up but has turned out to be as tough as any 'African' Dakar that has gone before it. And it is certain that next week is going to be even tougher...
Also in the bivouac having a well earned rest was quad No 275 Camelia Liparoti who arrived last night at 2:00 a.m. After three more eventful days she is still in the race, if trailing the rest of the field.
Marc Coma (Repsol KTM) 1st overall
When people back home watch us on television and see the towns we pass through, the bivouacs we are sleeping in, I think they might get the wrong impression. Obviously the living conditions in South America are easier than in Africa, but let me tell you, out on the piste the Dakar spirit is very much there. It has been an extremely tough week -- at least as hard as any other Dakar I have done before. My week has gone reasonably well, and for sure I am happy to be in the lead, but the situation with the rear mousse has been a big additional stress. All we can try and do is make the best choice for the day ahead and hope that it is the right one. I have been lucky that Jordi (Viladoms) and Gerard (Farres) have been so close behind me and that has helped reduce the problem - but for sure it is always in the back of my mind. The restart will see us heading into the Chilean desert and I am sure it will be very beautiful. I am also sure it will be very hard. Physically I feel strong and I think I am going to need all that strength!
Cyril Despres (Red Bull KTM) 5th overall (at 1h35'23)
It looks like Jordi (Viladoms) is going to get a 20 minute time penalty which means I will move up to fifth overall. That means that in one week I have moved up 17 places - though obviously the closer you get to the lead the harder those places are to take! Clearly in terms of pure speed Marc and I are pretty evenly matched, but the Dakar is an endurance race and we have seen before that anything can happen. Here in South American with the mousse 'surprises' and the fact that we know the terrain much less that is even more the case. It is why I remain convinced that I still have a chance of final victory and why I will keep pushing all the way to the end. We haven't yet received tomorrow's road book, but looking at the profile of the stages to come it would seem that the next six days are going to be even tougher. The harder they are the better my chances of being able to pull back time.
Jordi Viladoms (Repsol KTM) 7th overall (at 1h44'19)
In the last couple of years support riders haven't played too important a role and many said that they were no longer necessary. Now we see that they can make a big difference and it makes me feel good about the job. Although it is Marc who is out in front I have the feeling of satisfaction of having contributed to that situation. The fact that Marc and I are not just team mates, but also friends make this feeling even more special. For sure next week will be difficult and I will have to stay really concentrated on my job to make sure things go as well as possible.
Alain Duclos (Kaestle KTM) 81st overall (at 12h32'19)
This is my first Dakar as a factory rider and I have to say it hasn't been an easy debut. The first day I melted my mousse, the second day a fuel line broke and I ran out of petrol and on the third day, while I was pushing to get to Cyril and give him my wheel, I had a big crash and hurt my back -- which is still giving me problems. It has been difficult but I have learnt a lot and now I will restart with the aim of finishing in the top 10 and as close to Cyril as possible.
Camelia Liparoti (KTM Quad)
On stage 5 I came to the dunes in the night after 5 punctures and it was raining. I decided to try and get across them but then my GPS broke so I followed a truck - which turned out to be as lost as I was! I eventually made into the bivouac at 3 in the morning. The next day we started in the dunes again and I sailed through with no problems -- my bike is perfect for those kind of conditions -- and I made it into the bivouac in daylight! Yesterday's stage also started well in the sandy pistes, but afterwards there was a very long liaison on the road and I started to fall asleep. I ended up stopping by the side of the road and doing stretching exercises to try and keep awake! Finally I arrived in Valparaiso at 2 in the morning. Now I am looking forward to the rest of the rally. Everybody says it will be hard in the dunes but I think for me and my quad it will be easier than before. We go really well in the sand -- it is the tarmac and the stony pistes that are difficult!
A relatively easy Stage Eight
Riders on Sunday tackle the journey from Valparaiso to La Serena following the Chilean coastline northwards. It should be a day for the top riders to shine over medium altitude mountain roads, the highest altitude to be just over 1000 m.