On today’s stage at the refuelling my team-mate Ruben (Faria) arrived and signalled to me that he had a problem with his wheel. Before I started the second part of the special stage I had about 20 seconds to dig out my spoke key from my kit and throw it over to Ruben. Then I started to race and I thought to myself – “I hope I don’t need that key later or I’ll be in trouble”.
I was taking care of my engine and conserving some energy on the stage because I knew towards the end there would be lots of navigation in the dunes. So the chance came for me to help out Ruben and pay something back for all he has done for me as a team-mate. For Ruben to be more sure of his second place in the overall timings I knew it would be helpful it I took things nice and easy at the front of the race.
Ruben was chasing Chaleco (Lopez) who was riding on my rear wheel so I thought I would take down my speed and let him pass. So Chaleco, Goncalves and Barreda all came past me and then it was up to them to navigate. I had a front row seat to watch them struggling to find the route in the dunes and all the while I knew Ruben must be making up time.
The Dakar is a race that you must respect until the very finish but it was satisfying to be able to exert some control on today’s stage. Today we were the bosses because we decided something and it worked.