Date: Sunday 3rd January 2021
Location: Jeddah > Bisha
Length: 345km liaison + 277km special
Elsewhere, in the car category, 2020 winner Carlos Sainz impressed on the stage, taking the class lead ahead of Stephane Peterhansel and Martin Prokop. Sainz suffered a puncture on stage and later complained of issues with navigation after being lost for four minutes – it was an issue that was said to have plagued other competitors over the course of the stage.
Sebastien Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena, were caught out with the navigational difficulties after only 15 kilometres of the timed section. The pair has started in tenth after setting a great time on the prologue, however they were lost in their Bahrain Raid Xtreme Prodrive Hunter for fifteen minutes before they were able to get on their way again. Not only this, the pair suffered with three punctures during the 227 kilometre run.
- Carlos Sainz / Lucas Cruz – X Raid Mini JCW Team – 03:05:00s
- Stephane Peterhansel / Edouard Boulanger – X Raid Mini JCW Team – 03:05:22s
- Martin Prokop / Viktor Chytka – Benzina ORLEN Team – 03:09:42s
BIKES / LIGHTWEIGHT / TRUCKS
Spain’s Cristina Gutierrez had a memorable first day on this year’s Dakar Rally, after she took the stage win in the Lightweight Vehicle class, becoming the first female to win a stage on the famous rally raid since 2005, when Jutta Kleinschmidt last took the feat. Guitierrez, who will contest this year’s Extreme E championship with the X44 team, suffered a puncture on the 277 kilometre stage, and carried on to post a time of 3:35:56s almost a full six minutes ahead of nearest rival Austin Jones.
Like those in the car category, those in others were not immune to the navigational difficulties. Toby Price took the lead at the 135km after defending champion Ricky Brabec lost his bearings, gifting Price an eighteen minute advantage.
Dmitry Sotnikov headed the truck category in his Kamaz Master, after truck 500 fronted by fellow Kamaz driver and reigning champion Andrey Karginov, lost over an hour. on the stage due to a mechanical issue.
- Toby Price – Red Bull KTM Factory Team – 03:17:49s
- Kevin Benavides – Monster Energy Honda Team 2021 – 03:18:24s
- Mattias Walkner – Red Bull KTM Factory Team – 03:18:24s
- Cristina Gutierrez / Francois Cazalet – Red Bull Off-Road Team USA – 03:35:56s
- Austin Jones / Gustavo Gugelmin – Monster Energy Can-Am – 03:42:55s
- Francisco Lopez Contardo / Juan Pablo Latrach Vinagre – South Racing Can-Am – 03:43:32s
- Dmitry Sotnikov / Ruslan Akhmadeev / Ilgiz Akhmetzianov – Kamaz-Master – 03:16:47s
- Ales Loprais / Petr Pokora / Khalid Alkendi – Instaforex Loprais Praga – 03:24:47s
- Anton Shibalov / Dmitrii Nikitin – Kamaz-Master – 03:24:59s