Sebastien Loeb was downbeat after a tough opening stage of the 2018 Dakar Rally, with the Frenchman suffering brake failure within three kilometres of the start that meant he was forced to be extremely conservative with his driving through the remaining twenty-eight miles.
The Peugeot Sport driver, one of the favourites to win the endurance event this year, said it was a tricky day through the sand dunes of Peru, which he was unable to take at full power due to his lack of brakes, and as a result he lost five minutes and thirty-seven seconds to stage winner Nasser Al-Attiyah.
Loeb hopes the issue is easily solved ahead of the second stage on Sunday, and he remains optimistic that it will be a better day in the dunes.
“It was terrible for me because I lost the brakes completely after three kilometres, and I did 28 kilometres without brakes at all,” said Loeb. “I had to go very slow because it was quite tricky over the crests of the dunes: you couldn’t see the downhill and it was easy to make a mistake.
“It was important not to take any risks in this situation, so I just finished the stage, this is what I wanted after the problem. We are here, we will solve it and it will be a new start tomorrow, but a difficult start today.
“I think it’s just a brake problem so in the service it shouldn’t be a problem.”