Stage 7 - Iquique to Antofagasta Friday, January 8 Quotes of the stage Bike: Marc Coma: "I spared my tires" It was a very long day. But it's over. We made it to the rest day. We will be able to tend to the bike. We made it half way through...
Stage 7 - Iquique to Antofagasta
Friday, January 8
Quotes of the stage
Marc Coma: "I spared my tires"
It was a very long day. But it's over. We made it to the rest day. We will be able to tend to the bike. We made it half way through the raid. Today, I had to be mindful of the speed to spare my tires. It was pretty hard e.g. in the dunes where I got a bit lost.
Cyril Despres: "Very hard"
600 kilometres. 7h30 of timed stage. I am tired and on top of all, at km 150 I entered a large ditch and exploded the hydraulics of my shock absorber. Since km 150 I have been riding on a spring. I took all the shocks in my arms, my wrists, my neck. It was really hard before but it became close to unbearable at this point. The gap between me and Marc is small. I know that I could count on my tires. I went all the way and it looks like it paid off. The rest day will be welcome. The bike did not suffer despite the loss of hydraulics. I will have to look at all the screws and bolts but the bike took me here and that's good.
David Casteu: "Happy to be back here"
Today went well for me; there were still a few changes. I stopped to give some tools to Helder Rodrigues, who had fallen in an off-track section and had broken his gas handle. I then stopped to help "Chaleco" who had his chain stuck in the gearwheel. The special stage was demanding both physically and mechanically with e.g. an off-track section with a lot of big rocks where I drove in first gear. There was also a long set of sand dunes of more than 50 km; it was really a very versatile stage. But I am very happy to be back here.
Alejandro Patronelli: "The way is clear"
My brother and I decided to ride together. It went almost perfectly. We just had some little problems. I had a puncture 200 km from the finish line but I kept going. My brother also had a puncture and we had tie his rear left wheel with a wire 50 km from the finish line. We knew today was an important day. At the first CP, nobody seemed to be catching us up. At CP2 either. So we kept riding alone, and it paid off! I was fourth in the overall standings and now I am second. Our rivals are far behind. The way is clear until Buenos Aires, but we must go on quietly. Today's stage was impressive: we really meet up with all possible types of terrain.
Stephane Peterhansel: "We made a small navigation mistake"
We did not see a lot of cars. We left in front and we arrived in front. We were truly alone. We tried to keep a relatively high pace. But it was not easy where there was no one in front and no one in pursuit. We made a little error navigating and it cost us 1 or 2 minutes. This is probably why we lost the stage.
Nasser Al-Attiyah: "I took a chance"
I am happy because this stage was very long and hard. There was a lot of navigation. At the end of the 150 km we were behind Carlos (Sainz) and it was tough for us. When we started the second part of the special stage, I tried to push a bit and took a chance. I caught up with him. I am very happy to be the winner of the longest Dakar stage this year. It means that we did our job well. All the more so that I started fourth and it's never easy. Mon goal is to attack. Tomorrow we rest but stage 8 will be difficult. Anyway, I will do my best each day.
Guerlain Chicherit: "Here we are"
Things went great. We drove at a great pace. I had intended to attack. I wanted to get a good clock. It did not really work out the way we expected. We had two flat tires Then we ended up in the dust of Giniel (De Villiers) and we had a hard time getting close to him to pass him. We drove almost 100km behind him. Apart from that all was fine. Here we are. We are climbing back in the standings. Today there were big decisions to make in terms of navigation. Now I am looking increasingly at the standings so I will try to drive well to climb up. FOr the time being, it's ok; we are not too far.
Vladimir Chagin: "I drove calmly"
Our main task today was to avoid loosing time. I drove calmly. There was no reason to attack. Besides, there were a lot of rocks on the way, but also fesh-fesh and one could not drive too fast. Today's stage was long but it is very different from the long stages in the nineties when even the leaders arrived at night, after 10 or 12 hours spent in their vehicles. The first part of the rally looked a lot like the race in Africa. When comparing with last year, the changes are positive.