Dakar 2021 stage one report
Here’s a lowdown on all the important action from stage one of the Dakar 2021 rally
Stage one of the Dakar 2021 Rally kicked off on Sunday, January 3 2021 and it saw the participants make their way from Jeddah to Bisha, covering a total distance of 622km of which 277km consisted of the special stage. All teams/competitors who hope to take the lead and maintain will approach the initial stages with a lot of caution.
Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruze of the X-Raid Mini JCW Team were the first to finish the stage with a time of 03:05:00 hours. Stephane Peterhansel and Edouard Boulanger of the same team finished second, just 22 seconds behind Sainz and Cruze time. Martin Prokop and Viktor Chytka of the Benzina Orlen Team finished third fastest with a time of 03:09:42 hours.
Here’s what Martin Prokop of the Benzina Orlen Team, had to say about stage one, "Today was hard, both because of the navigation and because of the stones. There were loads of them. But the car is performing well and I think we did rather well. I don't know if the result is going to change… but it ain't half bad."
Toby Price, riding for the Red Bull KTM Factory team absolutely dominated stage one and finished with a time of 03:17:49 hours. In second place, 35 seconds slower than Price, was Kevin Benavides of the Monster Energy Honda Team. Third to finish fastest in the Bike category was Matthias Walkner again of the Red Bull KTM Factory Team with a time identical to Benavides at 03:18:24 hours.
Here’s what Toby Price, Red Bull KTM Factory Team, said about stage one, "It's just the first stage, so today [was] quite difficult with the navigation. I got lost a little bit about seven kilometres from the finish. I took a little bit of time just trying to get back on track here. It's been a good, clean day for us. I think you're going to see a lot of chopping and changing in the standings in this race. You just got to stay calm and let it cruise along and make it work."
Alexandre Giroud of Team Giroud was the fastest in stage one in the Quad category and finished with a time of 04:01:08 hours. Giovanni Enrico of Enrico Racing Team and Pablo Copetti of MX Devesa by Berta team finished second and third with a timing of 04:04:04 hours and 04:05:54 hours, respectively.
Alexandrre Giroud on dominating stage one, "The quad race was rather war-like today… It was a great stage! We got down to business. It was hard at the beginning because I was opening the road, so I got caught. You can see the dust trail of a quad from miles away. We then played cat and mouse for a bit. I was first across the line, but someone could end up posting a faster time."
Dmitry Sotnikov, Ruslan Akhmadeev and Igliz Akhmetzianov of team Kamaz-Master finished first with a time of 03:16:47 hours. Ales Loprais, Peter Pokora and Khalid Alkendi of team Instaforex Loprais Praga finished second with a time of 03:24:47. The third fastest time in the category at 03:24:59 hours belonged to Anton Shibalov, Dimitrii Nikitin and Ivan Tatarinov, again of the Kamaz-Master team.
Dmitry Sotnikov on finishing first at stage one, "It was a hard day for everybody. All day long in the dust. It was a nightmare because we drove among the cars and the bikes. There were also lots of trees and rocks..."
Christina Gutierrez Herrero and Francois Cazalet of Red Bull Off-Road Team USA finished stage one with a time of 03:35:56 hours. Austin Jones and Gustavo Gugelmin of Monster Energy Can-Am team finished second with a time of 03:42:55 hours while Francisco Lopez Contardo and Juan Pablo Latrach Vinagre of South Racing Can-Am team finished third fastest with a time of 03:43:32 hours.
Cristina Gutierrez Herrero of the Red Bull Off-Road Team USA on her time, "We need to wait until the final results, but we're in the lead! It was a gruelling stage, but the navigation went smoothly thanks to François. It was even great, perfect. I'm delighted to do so well from stage 1. This wasn't my objective, I just wanted to maintain a consistent pace at a high yet safe speed. I once attended an FIA boot camp led by Jutta Kleinschmidt in Qatar. In a way, Jutta was my first teacher. I'm mighty proud to meet her again here and, especially, to see her take delight in my victory."
Austin Jones and Gustavo Gugelmin of the Monster Energy Can-Am team finished the stage fastest with a time of 03:42:55 hours. Second was Francisco Lopez Contardo and Juan Pablo Latrach Vinagre of South Racing Can-Am team with a time of 03:43:32 hours. Aron Domzala and Maciej Justo of Monster Energy Can-Am finished third fastest with a time of 03:43:44 hours.
Here’s what Kristen Matlock said about her maiden outing in Dakar, "It felt really good. I'm not sure how I did as a raw position, but I had fun. It was pretty much another shakedown for the car. I just wanted to make sure that we didn't have any issues so that we can show up and race tomorrow..."
Harith Noah, riding as a privateer with the Sherco Rally Factory Team was the fastest Indian in stage one and finished 31 with a time of 03:53:44 hours. C S Santosh of Hero MotoSports Team Rally finished 42 with a time of 04:07:44 hours. Ashish Raorane, on his maiden Dakar rally whilst competing in the most difficult class i.e. the Malle Moto, finished 84 with a time of 06:08:37 hours.
Stay tuned for coverage of stage two which takes place today. The second stage of the Dakar 2021 Rally will see the competitors travel from Bisha to Wadi Ad-Dawasir for a total of 658 km of which 457 km is the special stage.