BIKE: Marc Coma (Esp - KTM - Winner) - 002 "This Dakar was really hard. One of the difficulties came from the fact that I was in the lead by almost 30' from the first day onward. In that case, you are the reference and your only risk is to go...
Marc Coma (Esp - KTM - Winner) - 002
"This Dakar was really hard. One of the difficulties came from the fact that I was in the lead by almost 30' from the first day onward. In that case, you are the reference and your only risk is to go back in the standings and loosing ground. 15 days like that is tough because you have no choice. The race itself was physically hard, which is however normal for a Dakar rally-raid. But what I really liked is that it was very varied. In Africa, you know what to expect. There is stone in Morocco, sand in Mauritania and laterite to finish. Here, we have had absolutely everything, even mud. Despite my position in the lead of the standings, I never doubted but I lived the raid under extreme tension. Fortunately, we have a strong team; it is a great team. With Jordi (Viladoms) and Gerard (Farres Guell), we all come from the same place, we have known each other for 15 years and we train together. It's really essential..."
Cyril Despres (Fra - KTM - 2nd) - 001
"In the end, having managed to give the very best of me is a relief. In this race, technical problems can happen any time but at least, I don't have to say 'well, in this or that stage, I should have done this or done that, etc.' What also interests me in my experience of this year's raid and a good second part of the race, is that I have now had proof that all the work done before was worth it. This is a very important part for me. Giving up, that's not me... I think that by now, my opponents must know it. In 2006, I dragged an injured shoulder through the whole raid. In 2007, a broken gearbox initially relegated me pretty far in the standings. And this year, if I had fallen apart, I might as well have gone home after the first day of the race. Instead, I wanted to prove to myself that I was able to perform even in such a difficult situation."
David Fretigne (Fra - Yamaha - 3rd) - 012
"Honestly, I was already considering this third place at the start in Buenos Aires. It was my ambition. I needed to put this pressure to myself. I had worked hard on my physical condition. I had a new bike and the fact that we were all on unknown territory put everybody on a level playing field. I managed to get second place in the standings pretty quickly and I kept this place practically during the whole rally-raid. It was a good stimulus for me and if I had not had mechanical problems 4 days from the finish, I would still hold this second place. But, well... it's the same for the others. One day, we laugh; one day, we cry.
"I was the first to show up with a 450cc five years ago and today it is more than 60% of the line-up. Back then, I did not know exactly what I was doing, but now I know that it is less dangerous than I thought. I would be delighted if there could be a separate category; it would allow more manufacturers to join in.
"With this 450cc, I loose ground when the trails are too soft. I had the chance to benefit from rather hard trails in the beginning of the raid. And one thing is sure, I was in it all the way from the first to the last day."
Josef Machacek (RTC - Yamaha - Winner) - 250
"I am really happy the race is over and I won. It was my 8th Dakar and I have now raced 7 on a quad and won 5 times. In this year's edition, my main contenders were Patronelli and Gonzalez. Gonzalez had a mecahnical problem that allowed me to take a big lead. Then I did a good job in the dunes and the more dangerous sections. I am almost 52 and I am now thinking abouth switching to cars. Patronelli is 28 years old and he has a bright future ahead of him."
Giniel De Villiers (Afs - Volkswagen - 1er) - 305
"Everything is a bit crazy right now. It's incredible. Until the 11th stage, I was ranking third and I knew it would be tough. But I thought about what had happened to Peterhansel in Sharm El Sheikh. This rally is really tough. We had our fair share of trouble. We had bad luck sometimes and we had some tricky situations too. But we were able to make the right decisions and - more importantly - we benefited from a fabulous car. We have made a lot of progress since our huge disappointment in 2007.
"Of course, I am sad for Carlos (Sainz) but I am above all relieved that both of them are ok.
"Before the last 227km special stage, I had told Dirk (Von Zitzewitz) that we had to stay really focused. We did not even push hard but we got the best clock. We will celebrate that by having a few beers with the guys."
Mark Miller (USA - Volkswagen - 2nd) - 308
"At the start in Buenos Aires we had our mind set on the first place, so I am a bit disappointed. I have been working with Volkswagen since 2005 to reach this level. Of course, it is fantastic to finish second but at the same time I have a sweet and sour feeling about this. But that's very personal. It is a bit frustrating not to have been able to race till the last Stage but Giniel De Villiers is a great guy. That's the raid. It was a team decision and I had to abide by the order.
"On this raid, there were times I will never forget. I remain deeply convinced that I can still win a Dakar. I still have the same motivation and a few good years ahead of me. But of course, my future will depend upon the decision of Volkswagen."
Robby Gordon (USA - Hummer - 3ème) - 309
"Right now, I am disappointed and frustrated. Looking back on the raid, I know we could have won but we lost. We were beaten by Volkswagen although we had the right pace. Actually, we lost the raid on stage 8, this is where they made the whole difference. But I am rather confident for the future. We have one more year of contract with the Hummer. We realized that the Volkswagen team and cars were better in the first stages and it is on this type of terrain that we must progress. Next year, we will have the advantage of starting third in the first special stage. We will be there with a faster, more powerful car. We had four flat tyres during this Dakar; next year, we must make sure we don't get flat tyres.
"But one thing is sure, tonight our party will be wilder than the party at Volkswagen."
Firdaus Kabirov (Rus - KAMAZ - winner) - 506
"In the last stage I was really nervous because I only had a short lead in the standings. But at the same time, the stage was easy. All you had to do was drive fast and keep control. I knew I could do it. At Kamaz, the team policy is simple: the drivers play it out on the trail and may the best win. There is no other policy. I knew I had won the Dakar when I saw the finish line of the last stage. Anyway, on the Dakar, it is impossible to think about victory before it is all over. I was won twice, I was second three times and I was third three times as well. But this year's victory is very important for us."