The 2019 Dakar Rally is underway. Started yesterday, 7th January 2019, 130 cars, 137 bikes, 26 quads and 41 trucks left Lima, Peru to complete the first stage. After a 247-kilometre liaison, the competitors faced an 84km special before a finish in Pisco.
In the car category, two-time Dakar winner Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing SA) took the win, beating reigning champion Carlos Sainz (X-Raid Mini JCW Team) by almost two minutes. Coming in third was Jakub Przygonski (Orlen X-Raid Team).
Al-Attiyah said: “The stage was tricky, not easy. There was a good line from the bikes and we didn’t push a lot. The last 10km, we caught Carlos and tried to stay behind him until the finish. Today was not a short stage, full of sand, it wasn’t easy. And tomorrow will be similar.”
Sainz’ teammates, Stéphane Peterhansel and Cyril Despres, took seventh and 10th respectively. A proof of the close bond between both drivers, they’ve switched co-pilots ahead of the event.
Motorsport legend Sébastien Loeb, racing as a Red Bull privateer, took 13th. He said: “We drove correctly. We didn’t want to take any risk, it wasn’t our objective on this stage. We’re getting into the rhythm, we didn’t do any mistake and we finished the stage.”
In the bike category, Joan Barreda (Honda Team) won ahead of Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna Factory Racing), teammate Ricky Brabec came in Third, and Fourth spot went to Sam Sunderland from Red Bull KTM Factory Team ahead of the other KTM riders Toby Price and Matthias Walkner.
Walkner, who won the 2018 edition, said: “The pace is quite high because we have a lot of lines [in the dunes]. It was quite an easy navigation, it was really fast. It’s good to be racing.”
In the quad category, Nicolas Cavigliasso beat Jeremías González Ferioli by almost four minutes, with Tomas Kubiena in third.
As for the truck category, four-time winner Eduard Nikolaev (Kamaz-Master) won ahead of Ton van Genugten in second and Federico Villagra in third.
Tomorrow (Tuesday), the cars will open the track from Pisco to San Juan de Marcona, with 211km of liaison followed by 342km of racing.
Credits : Photos and content courtesy of Red Bull Media