The 2013 Dakar Rally kicked off today, with the action comprising a 250km connecting stage, before the competitors tackled the 13km special. There was drama early on in all classes, with Robby Gordon’s disastrous start to the event likely to gain most of the attention.
Bikes: Lopez prevails in tight bike fight
The opening day for the bikes category has provided a great deal of excitement already, with the fastest time for the opening stage being beaten several times. Initially, Chile’s Pablo Quintanilla, riding a Honda CRF 450, held the advantage, completing the 13kms in 7 minutes 56 seconds.
He held the lead for 45 minutes before the time was beaten by Belgium’s Frans Verhoeven. He completed a time four seconds faster than Quintanilla, but was soon beaten to the top spot by Chile’s Francisco Lopez.
Lopez and his Yamaha was a second faster than Verhoeven’s best, clocking a time of 7 minutes and 51 seconds. Pablo Quintanilla held on to third (+5 seconds) at the end of the opening stage.
Patricio Cabrera is in fourth (+11), followed by defending class champion Cyril Despres (+13) and David Casteu (+15) in fifth and sixth. Ruben Faria (+19), Javier Pozzolito (+21), Pål Ullevålseter (+26) and Joan Barreda Bort (+29) round off the Top 10 at the end of today’s action.
Quads: Ignacio Flores takes early advantage
Peru’s Ignacio Flores Seminario took the early advantage in the quad bikes category in the opening stage of this year’s Dakar rally. Riding a Yamaha Raptor, he posted the best time of 9 minutes and 22 seconds. Runner up from 2012, Marcus Patronelli, enjoyed a strong start to the event and currently lies in third place behind Seminario and Sebastian Husseini.
Flores Seminario holds a lead of 11 seconds over Husseini with Patronelli 15 seconds down. Ignacio Casale (+20 seconds), Kees Koolen (+39), Tomas Maffei (+40), Alexis Hernandez (+42), Rafał Sonik (+43), Sebastián Palma (+49) and Gaston Gonzales (+52) complete the top ten so far.
“It goes without saying that I didn’t expect to win this. But I don’t want to make any mistakes. I’ve got to take things calmly. I’m not here to win the Dakar or achieve a top result. I’m here to finish the rally and make it to Santiago. I didn’t manage to do it last year. And it’s still my main goal,” Flores Seminario said.
Today, this land I love has given me a beautiful win. This victory is for all of Peru, of course, but I can’t overstate the importance of taking things calmly and patiently… There are still 14 days of racing to go.”
There were problems however for the number 275 machine ridden by Jean-Karl Atzert, who stopped during the last third of the 13km special, and reports suggest he has been hit by a serious mechanical problem. He attempted to fix the problems, which are believed to be engine related, but completed the stage after being towed to the finish.
Cars: Sainz makes early running as Gordon suffers problem
Carlos Sainz took the lead in the car category after beating Red Bull team mate Nasser Al-Attiyah to the top spot. Sainz completed the opening 13km in a time of seven minutes forty seconds, which was enough to beat Al-Attiyah’s similar machine by 10 seconds. Argentina’s later managed to split the Red Bull backed pair and is 8 seconds back from Sainz. Meanwhile, Guerlain Chicherit managed to equal Al-Attiyah’s time to move to equal third. Ronan Chabot completes the top five, 12 seconds back.
Krzysztof Hołowczyc, Leonid Novitskiy and last year’s winner Stéphane Peterhansel all clocked the same time and are 34 seconds behind Sainz. Giniel de Villiers (+ 35) and Nani Roma (+37) round out the top ten.
However, these gaps are before the x3 coefficient is applied to the times, meaning that Sainz will in fact have a 24 second advantage over Lucio Álvarez once tomorrow’s action commences.
There was late drama in the car category. One of the pre-event favourites, Robby Gordon, suffered some kind of unknown problem just 4km into proceedings. He eventually finished the stage 10 minutes and 35 seconds behind pace setter Sainz.
Trucks: De Rooy starts title defence strongly
Gerard De Rooy started a successful defence to his truck crown on the opening day of the Dakar Rally. His time of 8 minutes 46 seconds put him at the top of the times, where he was joined by Iveco team mate Hans Stacy, who was 16 seconds behind.
Ales Loprais holds third, 25 seconds back, whilst Marcel Van Vliet (+33 seconds) and Eduard Nikolaev (+34) took fourth and fifth. Peter Versluis (+44), Martin Van Den Brink (+58), Martin Kolimy (+59), Miki Biasion (+1:01) and Artur Ardavichus (+1:05) complete the top ten.
Stage times for 2013 Dakar Rally Stage One
|1||Ignacio Flores Seminario||Yamaha||00:09:22|
|1||Gerard de Rooy||Iveco||00:08:46|
|4||Marcel van Vliet||MAN||00:09:19||00:00:33|