Stage 4 - Fiambala to Copiapo
Tuesday, January 5
Quotes of the stage:
Cyril Despres: "It's the desert for sure!"
"It was a shorter stage but it was a good one. It's the fourth special stage of the raid and it's the fourth great one. We finally
hit a terrain that is better for our KTM bikes. It's nice to have the wind in the face and to pick up speed... Navigation was fun too with the first changes in course - which were pretty tricky by the way. And the first small dunes, the first camel grass... the desert, for sure!"
Marc Coma: "We won't let our guard down!"
It was an important day after the bad results and the bad luck. We got our good habits back and we got back on the right track. I am very happy to be here. It's good for the moral of the team after a few bad days. The strategy is something you do each day. We will make the most of the race, climb in the standings, and move forward... till the end. We won't let our guard down!"
David Casteu: "I did well with navigation"
I did well with navigation today. It allowed me to focus on the stage and my time ends up great in a very fast special stage. It means that the bike is going really well. It impresses me more and more each day. I never thought I could do so well in special stages with a 450... from Sherco, a manufacturer that has just arrived on the Dakar and that no one really knows.
Stephane Peterhansel: "Keeping your eyes on danger was of the essence"
In some places it was not easy navigating. But Jean-Paul (Cottret) did a great job. We hesitated twice and twice we entered rocky grounds. We had the impression we were losing time but apparently, so did the others. We don't know yet what the qualities of the cars are; we don't race each other all year long. Hence, since the beginning of the raid it's a great discovery. Depending of the type of special stage, we see each day who has the best technique, but we don't know who has the best car. Today was a fast stage with fast off-road sections, which means you have to keep your eyes on danger. It was tough; we had to watch out. When you have designed a car - all year long - you do hope it performs and delivers in technology, in the sand dunes, everywhere. But nothing is ever certain. So far however the car is not driving too bad.
Robby Gordon: "A special stage victory means nothing to us"
Today's special stage was perfect for us with a lot of camel grass. It's on this type of terrain that the Hummer is doing great. Today was a good day. I am glad we managed to recover from yesterday. I got stuck twice yesterday and the engine overheated. We lost one hour. It's sad but the race is still long. We only had 4 days of raid so far. A stage victory means nothing to us. It's the final victory we are in for. I have been very careful during the first two days and yesterday we lost one hour. I am sure that today we managed to climb up in the standings and we will see how Chile will treat us. We should be good in the sand dunes. We have worked a lot on the car. Last year we were very close to winning special stages. We often finished second just for a few seconds. Today we win for one second. We have managed to reach the level of the best drivers in the desert but they are much better than we are in WRC-type stages. This year, we did not lose as much time as last year in these WRC special stages. The gap is smaller so it will be up to us to work even harder to win this raid.
Carlos Sainz: "Each day is a new test"
Gordon is very fast... so is Nasser (Al-Attiyah). The problem is that he had a flat tyre twice. I got lost and I lost a bit of time there. But anyway I could not have driven this fast. In the Dakar each day is a new test. That's what this raid is about. Tomorrow is a long special stage. It will be a test day. We'll have to be in shape and take the right pace.
Giniel De Villers: "I can still make the Top 5"
Yesterday was one of these bad days you sometimes get on the Dakar. There are good and bad days here. Yesterday in the beginning of the special stage we got stuck with our nose in the dirt and lost 6 minutes. Then we had our electrical problem. We did not have the parts in the car and we had to wait for our assistance truck to arrive. These things happen. Today was much better even if we had to put up with the dust of the many cars in front of us. It was not easy to drive especially in the first half of the stage with the wind blowing in the wrong direction. I will now try to help Carlos (Sainz), Nasser (Al Attiyah) and Mark (Miller). They are still in very good positions. There is still a long way to go. I believe I have lost a little too much time to hope for final victory but with a little bit of luck I can still make the Top 5.
Vladimir Chagin: "Pelmeni for dinner tonight"
We drove very fast yesterday. So we could start the stage today at the ninth position, with the cars, which was very comfortable. The dunes were very nice today. I think this stage was very interesting. We were driving so fast that it felt lile we were flying. I hope it will be like this during the whole rally. Obviously, I am very proud of today's result, since this is my birthday! Moreover, the truck has no problem whatsoever. Now I will go back to the bivouac with Fridaus Kaborivand and I think that the team has prepared "Pelmeni" for dinner tonight!