318 vehicles took to the start line for today’s 454km route from Asuncion in Paraguay to Resistencia in Argentina with a special 39km timed prologue on Paraguayan soil. That stage was the beginning of the 2017 Dakar Rally.
With the starting order for tomorrow up for grabs, the drivers and riders had to navigate a narrow tricky circuit with broken terrain and sharp 90 degree turns which made for an exciting morning with mistakes inevitable.
Two-time winner Nasser Al-Attiyah had an eventful start to his campaign. He stormed around the circuit in little over 25 minutes to take first place. After that smoke filled the air around the finish line as he came to a holt shortly afterwards and had to be toed by teammate Giniel de Villiers 30 km to the nearest bivouac. He said afterwards: “I smelled smoke and fire in the last 10 kilometres!”
Carlos Sainz leads the Peugeot contingent in fourth with Sebastien Loeb in sixth and defending champion Stephane Peterhansel in 12th with Loeb saying afterwards, “it’s not time to make a move yet.”
HARO BRAVO (ESP)
|5.||302||DE VILLIERS (ZAF)
VON ZITZEWITZ (DEU)
|7.||306||AL RAJHI (SAU)
|10.||310||VAN LOON (NLD)
The outsiders stole the show on the prologue. A confident Xavier de Soultrait took the honours in front of Joan Pedrero and Ricky Brabec before declaring his goal is to win the Dakar this year.
His time of 28.20 was too hot to handle and he will set off first tomorrow bidding to win his first full stage. Last year’s winner Toby Price was one minute and 25 seconds back in 17th on his KTM.
|1.||23||DE SOULTRAIT (FRA)||YAMAHA||00:28:20||–||–|
|2.||12||PEDRERO GARCIA (ESP)||SHERCO TVS||00:28:22||00:00:02||–|
|7.||11||BARREDA BORT (ESP)||HONDA||00:28:52||00:00:32||–|
|9.||8||FARRES GUELL (ESP)||KTM||00:29:08||00:00:48||–|
|10.||25||CERVANTES MONTERO (ESP)||KTM||00:29:16||00:00:56|
Brazilian Marcelo Medeiros won a Dakar stage for the first time as he comfortably saw off the rest of the field on his Yamaha quad bike. Home favourite Nelson Sanabria gave the crowd something to cheer about as he completed the top three, just behind Gaston Gonzalez, while two-time winner Ignacio Casale is back in tenth.
|3.||257||SANABRIA GALEANO (PRY)||YAMAHA||00:34:32||00:01:39||–|
Martin Kolomy was quickest among the trucks. Running ninth on the road, Kolomy overhauled Iveco driver Ton van Genugten by 13 seconds. Martin van den Brink was third, followed by Ales Loprais and reigning Dakar champion Gerard de Rooy. De Rooy had a puncture during the run.
|2.||507||VAN GENUGTEN (NLD)
VAN LIMPT (NLD)
DER KINDEREN (NLD)
|3.||506||VAN DEN BRINK (NLD)
|5.||500||DE ROOY (NLD)