Nasser Al-Attiyah: "Avoid taking risks at all cost"
"A very tough stage, hard to drive. At mid-stage we got torrential rain. I thought I had to avoid taking risks at all cost, so early in the rally. Then the route dried up and we had fun driving till the end of the stage. I have the impression we lost a bit of engine power because of the water. We did not want to take any chances because tomorrow will be a very important day."
Stйphane Peterhansel: "Like driving on eggs"
"This was a rough start. It was a beautiful special stage: versatile, pretty fast in the beginning before entering a mid range that was great fun to drive. Then we entered a huge storm and in places the earth was like clay so there was absolutely no grip. It was like driving on eggs. It slowed us down but we mainly had to be careful not to lose too much at that time. If we got off trail, the sanction would have been immediate. We slightly damaged the back of the car but nothing serious."
Carlos Sainz: "A bit like the Rally of Great Britain"
"For about 20 km, we had a lot of rain. At times, we just could not see anything. Moreover, I had issues with the wipers that had stopped working. I am really happy the day is over. It was a bit like the Rally of Great Britain. Apart from now, the car went fine."
Guerlain Chicherit: "It is very hard"
"It's hard. It's very hard. After 3 km we already had an alarm due to bad cooling. We managed up to 30 km before the end, then the brake discs gave in, splintered into the rim and blocked everything. I tried to unblock and go on like that but it was impossible. It's hard. One year of work to get to this... it sure was a bad start. There is a lot of expectations on the car. A bad start indeed. Trouble is that tomorrow we will pay for today's problems because it will be a long stretch and it will be very hard to pass other cars."
Pal-Anders Ullevalseter: "I just drove badly"
"It was a terrible stage. After 20 km I had to stop to repair my antenna. I must have lost one minute. And then I just drove badly. For 10 years, I used to brake early because I was riding a big 690. Now I may not brake late. I have to learn. I did not participate in any race this year. It will take me two or three days to adjust to this 450cc bike."
Juan Pedrero Garcia: "Surprised by my time"
"I am very, very happy. It was a great special stage for me; I arrived here without trouble and I am an official pilot. I m very happy about the bike. We had tested it but in race conditions, things are very different. I am pretty surprise about my timing. I was really motivated at the start; the ground felt like enduro racing and I grew confident after a while. A great motivation."
Cyril Despres: "A good warming-up exercise"
"The day started really early this morning. Waking up at 3:00 AM was a bit of a rough start but the conditions were good. It was not too cold in the liaison but that section was almost the toughest because the special stage was really great fun. It was a great warming-up exercise, a winding route, big sliding sections, a mix between skiing and riding. I am in good shape; all is fine... In the beginning of a Dakar, one always wonders, especially now that all the top riders are riding 450cc bikes. Is this going to change much? Even if we tested our bikes, a Dakar will always be a Dakar. The race is on now and staying focused is of the essence."
Ruben Faria: "A good point of reference"
"I managed to keep a good tempo from the beginning to the end. This special stage looked very much like what I am used to seeing in Portugal. I am glad to know that in the end it paid out and I got the day's best clock. I did better today than many great riders with different driving styles. It's already a good point of reference. I am also very happy to see that my team mate Cyril Despres also made excellent time."
"A good warming-up stage; not an easy one though: it had a highly technical section and a faster section. What matters is reaching the end of the first stage without trouble. It's always a bit strange to start a new Dakar. Obviously, the fact that I was opening the route made me loose time on the others but this is the game of the race. The next few days will tell me how to catch up."
Marcos Patronelli: "A day to forget"
"I had electrical problems with my quad. I had to stop after some 15 km to repair; I must have lost an hour. A day to forget. Everything went wrong. Then came the rain. I lost a lot of time but I had to move on. I must have lost 2 1/2 hours. A catastrophe! A bad day for me: I thought I would not be able to get to the finish but here I am."