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Dakar 2007: Cyril Despres "Emotions i feel are incredible"

Final victory on the 2007 Dakar went to Frenchman Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) ahead of team mate and compatriot David Casteu (at 34’19) with the American Chris Blais third (at 52’06). "It is really fantastic to win this, my second Dakar - the emotion I feel is incredible. My first victory in 2005 was for me overshadowed by the tragic death of my friend and team mate Fabrizio Meoni - this one I can really savour" said Cyril Despres in the evening.

"The rally didn’t start too well for me, with gearbox problems coming into Africa that at one point saw me down to 16th place overall. But despite this setback, neither I nor my team ever gave up hope. I always believed that final victory was possible and kept on pushing ‘til the end."

"Last year was an extremely difficult one for me. My best friend and right hand man Thierry (Titou) Magne died in an avalanche when we were out walking in the snow together and then my neighbour Henri Magne (no relation) lost his life on the Rallye du Maroc. Eight months ago I wasn’t at all sure if I would be capable of entering this rally, so the fact that I was able to stay concentrated on the bike for eight hours at a time and enjoy the riding and navigating so much was a kind of victory in itself."

"Of course you don’t come back from such setbacks all by yourself and I would like to thank my friends and family for the huge support they gave me. I would also like to thank all my personal sponsors who stood by me through difficult times. None of them are just badges on my clothing, or stickers on my helmet, and I consider them partners in the true sense of the word. Above all I would like to thank KTM, not only for their unwavering support, but also for providing me with the means to win this extraordinary race. They have worked really hard to produce an incredible machine which I feel very privileged to have had a hand in developing. Finally I would like to dedicate my victory to Titou and Henri who I hope were looking over me today."

David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) 2nd overall (in 34’19): "All kind of emotions were going through my head as I rode down the beach to the final finish line - I thought a great deal of my family... This is my fifth Dakar and my fifth finish. I did three as a privateer and so can really appreciate having the KTM factory behind me. As far as the race is concerned I am proud of what I achieved. I was always present, looked after my machine on the marathon stages and opened the throttle when I needed to while all the time taking care of ‘my’ rider Isidre Esteve. I have gained a lot of experience on this race and will now go home and start preparing for 2008 with the firm intention of finishing on the highest step of the podium."

Isidre Esteve (Gauloises KTM) 30th (at 10.05’32): "Although I am happy to be here, I came to win, so obviously I am disappointed with my result. For the rest of this year I intend to enter as many rallies as possible and work hard with KTM in order to be ready to 2008. Now I am looking forward to going home and seeing my daughter - one day I will go home as the winner."

2007/01/11 | 18:18 CET | Editor: MR/Gauloises Racing

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