Both for the bikes and the cars, the first real stage, after yesterday’s prologue, was one to forget quickly for several favorites for the title in these classifications. In the final section, several riders had problems navigating, which led to a significant loss of time.
In the motorcycle race, Australian Daniel Sanders won the first stage. The GasGas rider already won the prologue on Saturday and also set the fastest time during the first stage.
Behind the Australian, only Pablo Quintanilla managed to follow his trail somewhat. The Chilean finished +02.07 minutes behind, while Mattias Walkner gave in +8.31 minutes to Sanders and finished third.
Several favorites experienced some setbacks. Defending champion Kevin Benavides (+34.22), Joan Barreda Bort (+38.54), Toby Price (+44.22) and Ricky Brabec (+56.21) were the big losers this stage. They all lost a lot of time in the last, difficult to navigate part of this stage.
Dutchmen Wiljan van Wikselaar, Mirjam Pol and Bram van den Wouden all managed to finish the stage. Van Wikselaar finished their fastest in 60th place.
In the SSV standings, the victory went to Aron Domzala, while the day win in the LW prototypes went to Seth Quintero. There was no major role for the seven Dutch teams in these two classes.
Also in the car classification, after the first stage, a line can already be drawn through the name of some favorites. Stéphane Peterhansel had to deal with a technical problem (broken rear axle) and can forget about prolonging his Dakar title after just one stage. His delay rose to more than 5.5 hours.
Carlos Sainz also lost heavily. The Spaniard lost more than two hours to stage winner Nasser Al-Attiyah, as a result of which the driver from Qatar already sees two competitors disappear. GC drivers De Villiers (+32.43), Przygonski (+40.50) Al Rajhi (+42.53) and Terranova (+48.21) lost a lot of time. The same applied to Dutchman Bernhard ten Brinke. He rode in the top ten in the first part of the stage, but in the end lost a lot of time and finished +2.02.16 behind.
After Al-Attiyah, Frenchman Sebastien Loeb came in second at +12.07 minutes behind. Martin Prokop was third at +21.21 minutes. Dutchmen Tim Coronel and Maik Willems also managed to reach the finish.
The trucks ran into less trouble in the first leg while navigating. The win, as expected, went to a driver of the Russian Kamaz team. It was defending champion Dmitry Sotnikov who ended up being 38 seconds ahead of his teammate Eduard Nikolaev in the 334 kilometer stage. Ales Loprais was third behind both Kamaz riders.
Best Dutchman in stage 1 was Janus van Kasteren. The rider of Team De Rooy finished seventh at +21.46 minutes behind. Richard de Groot (ninth) and Pascal de Baar (tenth) also finished in the top ten.
The Dakar rally can be seen daily on RTL 7 around 7 p.m. The broadcast will be repeated later in the evening.