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Dakar 2007: Interview with leading Repsol KTM Driver Marc Coma

How did the first half of the race go?

It´s been quite hard so far. Maybe Morocco was harder than expected and as the days go by it gets harder anyway. I think that we?re all right, we are where we wanted to be because the most important for us was reaching Atar with chances to win and we have achieved the objective. We obviously still have half a rally ahead and half the work to do. I´m happy with how the team and the bike are working. The only strong blow for us so far has been Villy?s (Jordi Viladoms) accident I really hope that he will get well soon. Now we?re only two instead of three in the team but with Gi (Giovanni Sala) the team has enough consistency and that´s the most important.

If Jordi Viladoms´ crash has been the most negative aspect before reaching Atar, which has been the most positive aspect since you left Portimao?

The most positive aspect may be the stage from Rachidia to Ouarzazate, although it isn´t the most important. I´d say it´s actually how the rally is generally going. Although that doesn't mean anything either because it is true that things are working out fine so far, we have been following the plan as expected, but the job isn't finished yet, and it won't be easy at all.

How is the bike working? Is it performing at the expected level for a hard race like this?

The bike is doing perfect and working very well at all times. In fact we had already used it in many races of the world championship this year, and that helped us to set it up. As regards suspensions, engine and everything else, I´m feeling very comfortable and the truth is that we haven´t had any problem.

Is the team working well?

Yes, the team is doing a perfect job. All mechanics are working great and Jordi (Arcarons) as well. Villy, Gi and I have understood each other very well so far and the most important is that we will be able to overcome Villy´s retirement with no problems and move on. I?ve always said that we are the best as a team. More than a team we are a group of friends and we all know what our job is and the task we have to carry out at all times. All jobs are done automatically and it makes things a lot easier under such extreme conditions as here.

How do you see your rivals, who is the strongest?

I would never discard any of them. What I won´t do is getting obsessed watching the standings and checking how many minutes there are between us. The most important thing for me is not making mistakes, continuing with the race as I have been doing so far. Once the time has come we´ll analyse everything thoroughly. But I insist, the most important thing is avoiding mistakes.

What is expecting you from Atar onwards?

Now we have three days in Mauritania which are going to be very hard and then there will be three stages left that will also count, with difficult navigation. Therefore we have a second half of the rally ahead that will be as hard or even harder than what we have had so far. Before even starting the race I already said that the race would be decided during the stages in Mauritania and I'll probably be right.

2007/01/14 | 21:18 CET | Editor: MR/Repsol KTM

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