Originally Posted by 8340SU
"A terribly difficult day. Well, difficult, it's rather that we made a mistake. I was thinking that I had to stay focused and, right on cue, I made a mistake. I don't understand, everything seemed fine. Chaleco went into a valley a bit too early. He came back just in front of me. We were doing well. And then, I don't know. We should have turned a bit more to the right but it was difficult with the rain. That's the way it is. I was the big loser. Of course, I knew it wasn't all wrapped up yet; but there will be further surprises during the second week. The aim is not to get hurt and to make it to Santiago. But there's still much to go..."
At any rate, I've put my bad day behind me! It was yesterday, when my fifth gear broke down in what was a fast special. I lost time, but I was nevertheless lucky because my friend Marek Dabrowski gave me his engine and took mine yesterday evening at the marathon bivouac... So today I was able to ride normally, and I could have pulled off a big coup today, because I almost took the right trail at the entrance of the río, but all the tracks went left, so in the end I followed them and came upon everyone riding around at sixes and sevens and looking at each other. When this happens, I only look at my road book and the landscape... I didn't see some riders break away and I had to make a U-turn 500 m from the right trail, but that's the way it is... There are good days, less good days and great days, and I'm waiting for a great day!
A huge navigational success! I'm over the moon because it's difficult to ride at the front while attacking and keeping your bearings, navigating... I was able to keep my cool while everyone else was spinning around, but I stayed focused and was the first across the line... And leading the Dakar during the rest day, that's terrific!
It was a good day, because after all the problems over the last few days, my hand feels better and better and I'm starting to ride at ease. I quickly caught up with the leaders, who were backtracking after a navigational mistake, and went flat out from then on, but in the last kilometres it was my turn to make a navigational mistake and David Casteu overtook me. Anyway, I'm happy nevertheless because I navigated quite well and I'm happy to add another stage win to my tally.
My first big mistake since the start of the rally, I insisted on following the motorcycle tracks but it was the wrong direction. Jean-Paul pressured me to look for a way out of the riverbed, but I continued for 2.5 km before retracing my steps, which means I'd gone 5 km too far and lost almost 9 minutes, as Terranova was going by when I came out... Well, that's the way it is... Nasser will probably take advantage of this, but that's racing... Having said that, one of the riverbeds was quite full when we went by and apparently they wanted to neutralise the stage at CP2. This wouldn't be bad news for me, as it would neutralise our navigational mistake and we'd only concede the time lost head-to-head on the course... We'll see...