Nasser Al-Attiyah claimed the opening stage honours in the 2018 Dakar Rally on Saturday, and the Qatari racer insists he is happy to be leading the field away for the second stage on Sunday.
The Toyota Gazoo Racing ace, twice a victor in the Dakar Rally, set the best stage time of the day of twenty-one minutes and fifty-one seconds, and he will be the first on the second stage on Sunday, a 267-kilometre challenge through the sand dunes of Peru.
“We’ll just have to go out and do it,” said Al-Attiyah. “For me it is better to lead than to chase, and as it stands I have a little bit of time in hand now.”
Toyota had a strong day, with Al-Attiyah finishing just ahead of team-mate Bernard ten Brinke, while Giniel de Villiers ended up in sixth, but Team Principal Glyn Hall remains cautious, with Sunday’s second stage likely to give a better indication of just where they are compared to their rivals.
“We’re obviously very happy with the start – any stage win on the Dakar is a good one,” said Hall. “But at the same time, it is impossible to measure our performance against our competitors over such a short, strategic stage.
“Stage 2 will give us a much clearer picture, but for now we are very happy with the way our cars performed in the dunes.”