It was like a repeat of the 2014 South American Dakar. Nasser Al-Attiyah in a X-Raid M put the hammer down on the first stage today and won the stage with a time of 1:12.50. Second, provisionally on the stage was the X-Raid Mini All4 of Orlando Terranova, 22 seconds behind.
Robbie Gordon in his massive Hummer, showed that he meant business this year after a few years of abject misery. He took third place 1.04 behind the leader.
Third overall was the South African driver, Giniel de Villiers, in an Imperial Toyota H-lux 1.12 behind.
Last years winner, Joan “Nani” Roma, also in an X-Raid All4 Mini had not yet started the stage by the time that the winners crossed the finish line. He was having problems gertting the Mini to start.
Leeroy Poulter in the other Imperial Toyota Hi-Lux had not yet finished and was not among the first 18 cars to cross the finish line on the stage.
Carlos Sainz in the new Peugeot 208 DKR, making its debut after 25 years finished 8th with his teammate Stephane Peterhansel 10th. Sainz was 2.06 off the pace and Peterhansel 2.35.
Today’;s “warming up” stage was 170km in length for the cars and 175km for the bikes.