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This is the single-news section of the marathonrally.com news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.









PAX Rally: Successful start for the Repsol drivers and riders






Today the Lisboa Pax Rally began, the second date in the Dakar Series that opened in Hungary and Rumania in April, and where the Repsol team has once again started among the favourites in both cars as well as bikes. Luc Alphand won the car stage today, ahead of Sainz and De Villiers. “Nani” Roma and Stéphane Peterhansel lost three and four minutes, respectively, owing to engine problems for the Spaniard and a puncture in the case of the Frenchman.

In motorbikes, Marc Coma lost a minute and fifteen seconds to the Portuguese Rubén Faria, and three to Cyril Despres. The Repsol team member is riding a motorbike similar to the one he used in the Central European Rally, that is a KTM 690 Rally with a modified fuel tank, a little narrower than usual. Together with him at the start was Gerard Farrés, who after the first day is 11th just under four minutes behind the leader.

Today`s stage was probably the toughest and most complicated of those in wait over the next few days, taking the vehicles from Lisbon to Castelo Blanco, close to the frontier with Spain in Extremadura. After 160km of liaison there was a special section of 223km that was characterised by a very varied terrain, with twisty zones and significant slopes. These were along very dry tracks across sandy ground and at times with a lot of dust which made the day quite difficult.

Tomorrow the rally ends once again near Lisbon, although along a different route from today; with a liaison of 43km and a special of 199km. Finally there is another liaison of 155km until Benavente about 50km from the Portuguese capital.

Quotes - Cars

Luc Alphand: "It was very hot, and the pace was incredibly fast. I wasn't perfectly happy with my driving to begin with, but we soon picked up speed and I am particularly pleased with my performance over the final part of the stage.

The terrain was very similar to what we saw on the Rali Transiberico. Today's stage was technically very challenging, especially towards the end. I ran out of drinking water, so I wasn't in fantastic form at the finish control, but I feel fine now."

Stéphane Peterhansel: "It was a rear-left puncture about 50km from the end of the stage which lost me the most ground, though. The stage was very narrow and we had to drive for some time on a flat tyre before we finally finding a safe place to park up and put on the spare."

"Nani" Roma: "It took me a little time to settle in, but I soon found a good rhythm which enabled me to push hard. In the second half of the stage I started to have trouble with my alternator and I stalled in a village.

It took me some time to fire the engine up again and we lost valuable minutes before we were back on the move. It's obviously a big shame because we were going so well, but this event has only just started. Tomorrow's stage is another long one, and so much can still happen."

Quotes - Motobikes

Marc Coma: “Tody`s stage was our first contact with the terrain, letting us see the conditions that we will encounter in this race, and to gradually pick up the pace needed at this level of competition. This is a race that is a little different from what we are used to since there is very little navigation and a type of terrain that is quite different from the types we typically ride on.

I concentrated on maintaining a good pace, and we will see if we can get a good result. The special was on tracks that were quite technical, small and twisty which passed through zones with vegetation, a lot of eucalyptus trees. And we had quite a lot of dust, and we were always going up and down, never on the flat. It was important to keep my concentration at all times. We will see what is in store for us but the first two stages are probably the most complicated. We will plan our strategy as we go along as we do not know too much about this race and it is difficult to plan anything.”

Gerard Farrés: “It was a bit complicated for me to get used to the motorbike again, as it has been almost a year without riding a large bike, and I went with as much caution as was necessary for this other type of riding. What I have very clear is that I am here to learn, and we do not want any scares.

I am taking it easy, trying the bike out carefully, and if I feel better as the days go by I will gradually increase my pace. At the beginning of the stage it took me some time to get used to the roadbook, since there were many places where the track was clearly marked and with the two things I got into a bit of a mess. But it was important to follow the directions we had correctly, because there were those who made mistakes and they have lost time, and for me, apart from riding more comfortably, it kept me busy.”

2008/09/10 | 22:04 CET | Editor: MR/Repsol/Rita Konya/HS






















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