Cyril Despres keeps us informed of his progress in his latest blog entry, as the Rally Sardegna in Italy gets underway...
It is not often you get three generations of Dakar winners on the same start line and all on bikes. This morning, down at the port, there was Cyril Neveu, Stephane Peterhansel, Marc Coma and myself, and between us we calculated we held a total of 17 Dakar victories! Although we were all joking around before the stage, you could see that the older generation had lost none of their competitive instinct!
As I’d entered on a 530, and there was no prologue, I had to start behind the 450 world championship contenders and I was a little worried I’d lose too much time in their dust. As it turned out, I managed to get by quite a few on the first special and only finished 27 seconds behind Marc (Coma). The second, shorter special didn’t go quite so well. Again I had to start in 15th place and a low speed crash and a beginner’s navigation error cost me at least two minutes.
So, I was just over two minutes down at the start of the next day, but up until the refuelling point, at around the 100 kilometre mark, everything was going more or less according to plan. The navigation wasn’t easy, and Marc [Coma] had managed to take a little time off me, but I was nevertheless ahead of him and opening the piste when we came into the assistance.
Then about six kilometres into the last 50 kilometres I maybe lacked a little bit of aggression over some rocky ground (no dust) and Marc was able to get past me. That meant 40 kilometres of eating his dust until right at end of the special where I had a momentary loss of concentration and lost a little more time with the navigation.
All the best,