Al-Attiyah masters the dunes in successful Dakar start (updated)

Al-Attiyah masters the dunes in successful Dakar start (updated)


The 2019 Dakar Rally is underway. This Monday, 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. In third is 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 is not a short stage, full sand, it’s not easy. And tomorrow will be similar.”

Sainz’ teammates, Stéphane Peterhansel and Cyril Despres, took respectively seventh and 10th. A proof of the close bond between both drivers, they’ve exchanged 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 it.”

In the bike category, Joan Barreda (Honda Team) took his first win ahead of Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna Factory Racing)

Second was his teammate Ricky Brabec. Sam Sunderland took fifth, ahead of teammate Toby Price (sixth) and Matthias Walkner (seventh).

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.

In 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.