Ruben Faria, who was 2nd in the yesterday stage, has won the second special test of the Dakar 2006.
Over the 115 kilometres between Portimao and the extreme South of the Algarve region, the Portuguese feeds the rumours of a special prize to be assigned to a native winner in the
European part of the race. But last night Faria was penalized because of a late entry in the parc fermé. 12 heavy minutes. So the last chance was wasted. In fact the best overall pilot after two legs is Isidre Esteve, the Spanish that has passed in the KTM Gauloises Team just before this Dakar. In today's stage Esteve finished in second position.
But let us make a step behind. Yesterday night Astrid made a call for all the team members and introduced Hans Trunkenpolz. The general manager wanted to speak to everybody for a moment. The old “year” was ending and the new was incoming. A half a hour only between the two years. Trunkenpolz spoken for minutes to the biggest family of this Dakar. Intense moments when he remembered unforgettable Champions Richard Sainct and Fabrizio Meoni, and their memorable exploits.
Then the “Boss” spoken about the difficulties of the race, and about the meaning of a so large group involved in. Cyril Despres, who lived both the main glorious and the tragic episodes of the strongest team ever seen on the Dakar, was thrilled. The winner of the past edition of the rally knows his role perfectly. And his sensitivity and his talent can flow together in the growth of this family. Then Mr. Trukenpolz addressed to all the members of the large KTM Team the best wishes of the Factory. The new year was just there.
This morning the “crew” faced the last European day of the Dakar. The track was similar to the one of yesterday. Terrain was slippery because of wet weather conditions and because of the particular sandy ground of the zone. Many corners and technical passages, fords to be wadded and jumps. And a strong wind blowing out. A demanding test for talent riders and for effective bikes. Thousand of peoples along the entire section completed the race frame.
Despres preferred to keep a “low profile”, gliding corners and never forcing. He closed the special test in eleventh position, but with some advantages acquired for the next stage. By this way the French Champion will start behind some riders in the first African special test, and this is a good, logical strategy in order to avoid navigation problems.
Marc Coma was fifth today, and he is now second in the overall standing. He forced a little bit only in the final part of the special test, mainly because of the pleasure he token riding in the enthusiastic atmosphere created by the spectators. Marc joked with the race until he slipped away in a little fall. Then he resumed his full concentration. “It was very exciting to race between this two wings of spectators,” said the Repsol KTM World Champion, “You can take a lot of risks also in a short leg like this one. But I want to ask to you: is not a pure happiness to run in this kind of atmosphere? Starting from tomorrow things will be so complicated, so let me enjoy this race break.”
Same force has pushed out David Casteu, Gauloises team mate, that is with Michel Gau at his first Dakaras Factory Rider.
Then, after the special test, all the competitors crossed the border between Portugaland Spain, and they complete the stage reaching Malaga. There a ferryboat is waiting for the long convoy. Tomorrow the Dakarwill change again his context. A new continent, Africa, a new Country, Algeria, a new day of race. A long stage of 672 kilometres, with a special test of 387. The first bivouac will maybe reached at night.
Press release KTM