Blue as the colors of the French expression Sonauto who placed two men in the first three places. Hats off, especially Stephane Peterhansel who won a deserved success and hard, with detachments on arrival very low. Nobody saw it coming so terrible. It was one of the best not discussed, but it weighed on his shoulders a past made especially dazzling performance and retreats.
What occurred at the start of the Paris-Dakar ' 91 is a very different, able to go slow, In addition to strong, and suffer if necessary. The arrival of Gao was something epic: in a stage full of grass ' chameaux», with large clumps among the sand that put a strain on the suspension, remained completely without shock, stressed to the point of «burst» peeling the recovery tank, that in the fall he sliced the rear brake hose. He continued in these conditions and broke the shock attack, that fortunately it went to fit inside a frame plate.
Then it was the turn of tire mousse first and then: When it came to Gao wasn't that the circle, naked. Even under these conditions Peterhansel managed to contain its disadvantage from the first stage win in 37 ' 51” retaining the championship lead. Just one of many episodes that make up the Dakar, but not limited to the determination of the French, decided as never before.
"It is the happiest day of my life was chasing him on arrival commented moved for several years, and I had always gone bad. In 89, After five days, I was in the lead, but I broke the bike. Last year on the sixth day I was still first but I mistook the route, I was out of gas off the track and I was forced to switch the balises and retire. This time I did it»!
It is no coincidence and not luck. To succeed Peterhansel had to revise his whole way of running, all his race tactics.
"It changed the way I run. I understand that force is not appropriate, you don't need to gain a few minutes running instead big risks, Maybe retiring. Is much more productive March with regularity, without going over the limit: in the ' 90 I won the Rally of Tunisia and the Atlas, yet they are not come first in any special. Isn't travelling fortissimo that you arrive early».
It seems a paradox, but it's true. The rest is something I had to learn on her skin, for this is categorical about the misfortunes of others.
"I know that some retreats they removed dangerous opponents race, they were unlucky, but I don't have much luck. I broke a mousse to Dirkou and I had all those troubles to Gao. The rest just Orioli lost the race for mechanical problems: Dalvi did wrong and fell, and so did the strip contains. I for my part I had problems with my hand: I fractured the Pharaons Rally ' 89, and a second time a few months ago, the Guidon d'Or in the first stages, full of stones and very hard physically, I did suffer a lot. Luckily the path has become more difficult for navigation, but less for my scaphoid».
Peterhansel through gritted teeth In short, but he could not give in. Not this year in which occurred focussed and determined, ready to hit the final goal. Even once the leadership of the race never wanted to pronounce the word «victory».
«In a race is not expected to win until the end, anything can always happen. Just five minutes from arrival in Dakar I began to believe it really, because the postings were very low throughout the rally. Until the last you can't say you have won; You can say only that you have lost, at most. I thought really happened to me twice: I've already told you about Gao, I was sure it was really over and instead I managed to stay for four minutes. But also between Agadez and Tillia I was scared, I was without instrumentation and I didn't know where to go. When I was able to find the track with the directions of the natives I saw the traces of another bike. I feared that the strip contains had made. Instead it was De Petri, and I concluded second».
One of the most dangerous opponents Peterhansel was found right at home: teammate Magnaldi.
«By Thierry there were no problems, the relationship between us is great, We are friends. Better to have him behind that Orioli or anyone else: in case something happened to me in the first place would stay at Sonauto. I'm sorry you missed the second for a NAP».
Now the adventure is over, and well. Peterhansel, always very nice and polite, but tested by tension, can finally melt a little’ Relax. Think ahead.
«Future? A nice ski vacation. I need it, I own several bikes and desert»!