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Dakar 2007: Cyril Despres - "I was impressed by Vinters Speed".

Yesterday it was the turn of Janis Vinter, today it was another privateer who won the special, with Helder Rodrigues finishing just 44 seconds ahead of Marc Coma. Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) was third with David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) 5th, Frans Verhoeven (Gauloises KTM) 11th and Isidre Esteve (Gauloises KTM) 13th. Overall Coma fractionally increases his overall lead over Despres with Casteu holding steady in third. Esteve is back in 7th place with Verhoeven 21st.

Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) 3rd (at 0’51) 2nd overall (at 54’43): "Today, on the soft sandy piste, it was a little like doing 360 km of downhill skiing - imagine how your thighs would feel after that! It was hard on man and machine and not very interesting technically speaking, but still it was good fun to ride. We attacked hard right from the start - I was impressed by Vinters’ speed - and that will be my tactic from now on. There was no real navigation but the road book started to triangulate round the few villages we encountered - I imagine that is just to get us used to the idea before Black Africa."

David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) 5th (at 4’41) 3rd overall (at 1.15’12): "My tactic this morning, from the start of the special, was very simple - catch Chris Blais, and make sure he didn’t pull any time back on me, so as to safeguard my third place. So you could say it was mission accomplished. That will be my tactic to the end. Tomorrow I will let Blais catch me and make sure I know where he is. My best place so far on the Dakar is 8th so a place on the podium will be quite respectable.

Isidre Esteve (Gauloises KTM) 13th (at 20’57) 7th overall (at 2’52.24): "It wasn’t a good special and I didn’t have a good day. There was just one piste out and one piste back!"

Franz Verhoeven (Gauloises KTM) 11th (at 14’47) 21st overall (at 8.25’08): "It isn’t the first time I have broken down on the piste - it happened three times to me last year - and so I knew what to do - get my engine out and wait for the assistance truck. It is a pity because up until then I was in 6th place overall, which is good for a water carrier. Today my ambition was to finish in the top 10 and if I hadn’t made a little mistake in the dust I would have achieved it. Still I overtook more than 100 riders today which isn’t too bad - I just hope I didn’t frighten any of them too much! Despite today’s charge, my intention isn’t to win specials like Rodrigues or Vinters. My job is to support Cyril - but obviously to do that I need to be reasonably close to him!"

2007/01/16 | 17:10 CET | Editor: MR/Gauloises

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