Today was just fantastic. The inspection car broke down on the stage a couple of days ago so we had no information about what to expect between 180km and 245km of the timed special stage. It was all virgin ground with no track at all and this was a challenge I really, really enjoyed.
I opened the track today so I was trying to find the route, get a good rhythm going and also avoid any errors. Finding a GPS point in this desert is like a snowboarder trying to hit a mark on fresh powder. Every five or ten kilometres you have to hit these little points on the track. It's more difficult going through the sand on a bike because you have to go up, down and side-to-side.
It was such a great feeling to pass each waypoint because the navigation system only lets you know you're in the right place when you are 200m away. Seeing that little light flash is very reassuring. On top of finding the way there was pressure on me to keep up my speed and find the best valleys for racing. You really have to trust your judgement to pick the fastest route and I was happy with the job I did today.
"You really have to trust your judgement to pick the fastest route and I was happy with the job I did today"
Opening the route and racing on virgin ground really helped me to focus on just riding my own race. There were times when I decided to slow down because it became too risky, especially in the last few kilometres. But the first thought I had when I finished the stage was not my time but how much fun it was to have raced a stage like today's. It’s stages like this that are my reason for doing the sport.
I lost my lead at the top of the standings today, but maybe that will work out in my favour tomorrow. There are two guys between Marc [Coma] and myself and I have one and a half minutes to catch up. It won't be easy but it would be even harder if I had the job of opening the stage again.
Cyril is one minute and 35 seconds behind Marc Coma after the twelfth stage of the 2012 Dakar Rally. Keep tabs on Cyril’s race on Red Bull’s dedicated desert classic website.
- Check out more Cyril Despres blogs
- Head to his official website at cyrildespres.com
- Go to the official website of the Dakar Rally 2012