Stage 7 Friday 9 January 2009 Mendoza to Valparaiso * Connection 80 km * Special 419 km * Connection 317 km BIKE: Cyril Despres (Fra -- 1 -- KTM) - 001 "I think the organizers were right to shorten this special stage because there were ...
Friday 9 January 2009
Mendoza to Valparaiso
* Connection 80 km
* Special 419 km
* Connection 317 km
Cyril Despres (Fra -- 1 -- KTM) - 001
"I think the organizers were right to shorten this special stage because there were plenty of water holes and difficult mud. You have to know how to handle a big 200 kilo bike in the mud and it's not easy, but we did okay. We're discovering a new type of terrain, on leaving Argentina, and I wasn't expecting that. After 140 km of nice sandy tracks with jumps, we landed on mud flats, dry tracks that were a bit like the Sahara. With the mud, it was fun. I'm starting to get the bit between my teeth: when I'm not thinking about my problems and when I don't have any, straight away things are better. The cards were dealt during the first days and now we're coming across the sort of stages that we are used to, where we can attack, which is the rule of the game in rally-raids. The problem is that when the cards were dealt, I didn't get a good hand..."
David Fretigne (Fra -- 12 -- YAM) - 012
"For the first 100 kilometers, it was superb, technical, full of little sandy rugged tracks. I loved it. I did lots of little jumps, but tried to avoid any nasty surprises. After that, the tracks were very quick, scattered with sections where there was a lot of water. It was really like endurance riding and it wasn't easy to find the right way through, due to all the vegetation. It's a shame that after 100 kilometers, I had problems with my rear hub. It overheated and the bike stopped. I understood what it was, so when I was able to get going again, I was a bit worried whether I would finish the special stage or not. It's already happened to me once before, it completely blocked the bike up. At the start I was quick, but then when I was riding at 130 kmph, the others were speeding along at 170 kmph, so I lost time on them. That said, it was a good special stage. Tomorrow we can rest. With a start of a rally like this, it's all I'm asking for".
Francisco Lopez (Chl - KTM) - 020
"I rode quickly today. There were a lot of dunes. It was very physical. The bikers will be aching tomorrow. After that, there were 120 very tough kilometers that required a very fast pace, before we hit the mud, which was quite destabilizing for riding the bike. I'm very happy, because the other day I did well but wasn't able to make it count when it mattered. Now we are in Chile, so let's see what will happen. I hope I can keep up with the pace. I really want to do well in my home country.
Carlos Sainz (Esp -- Volkswagen) - 301
"The day went well, even if the stage was very hard. There was the mud, and the zones with lots of water, meaning sometimes we had to deal with a bit of wheel-spin. After that it was just as tough, really hard. But everything is going well for the team".
Robby Gordon (USA -- Hummer) - 309
"For us, it was a pretty good special. There was a little bit of mud at the end. I have to say for the first section we were right in the fight for the lead, but the last section where there was mud, since we have a two-wheel drive I was very conservative and cautious. We gave up probably 5 or 6 minutes to Sainz just in the last 70 kilometers. My Hummer is still hanging in there. We lost 35 minutes yesterday when we got lost, and that might make the difference at the end of the day between winning the rally or not. I'm happy to be half way there. We've come here for the win and we won't stop until the finishing line, we're pushing as hard as we can, but you've got to be smart: a lot of cars are starting to drop out of the rally. It's still possible. The Volkswagens often break down during the last week".
Nani Roma (Esp -- Mitsubishi) - 304
"It was a good day. The car worked well. Still, there was a slight problem with the windscreen wipers. I finished without being able to see much. I don't know what happened to Stephane Peterhansel either. Perhaps he got a flat tire. Anyway, in this race every day something remarkable happens. We still have a long way to go before the finish. For the moment, we're only near Valparaiso. At Mitsubishi, we have a huge team who work really hard. They've made a super car, but it's a brand new car, so we have to fight and work hard, day after day, and not let the Volkswagens run away with it. The car is getting better and better, and I'm a professional. Mitsubishi pay me for this type of competition. So I'm going to battle and if VW want to win the rally, then it's going to be tough, because I'm not going to let up, not one bit. I've worked a lot for this race".