The Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah, in cars, and the American Ricky Arabic, on motorcycles, took advantage of the 11 kilometers of prologue to warn their rivals of their intentions in this edition of the Dakar Rally, number 43.
For the second year in a row, Saudi Arabia hosts the toughest rally in the world, with 286 contestants admitted in the categories of motorcycles, quads, cars, light vehicles and trucks. All of them began to savor the toughness of the Dakar this Saturday, in a short 11-kilometer prologue in the port city of Jeddah that served as an appetizer for what is to come: twelve stages and 7,646 kilometers of route, 4,767 of them timed.
In the category of cars, Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Kazoo Racing) wants to challenge the favoritism of the Spanish Carlos Sainz (X-Raid Mini JCW), far from the leading positions of the classification after suffering a puncture. The Madrilenian, the last champion of the event, was the first of the pilots to start. Accompanied by his co-pilot Lucas Cruz, gave up 36 seconds to Al-Attiyah.
Carlos Sainz he suffered a puncture after two kilometers on the right rear wheel and, at the end of the special, had to change the tire. This setback caused him to lose ground with respect to the big favorites.
In this first route, which allows the organization to qualify for the first stage this Sunday, the Toyota of Nasser Al-Attiyah (5.48). The South African Brian Baragwanath (Century) surprised by placing, against the forecast, in second place with practically the same time as the winner.
In the top-10 also finished the Polish JAkub Przygonski the dutch Bernhard Have brine, the Argentinian Orlando Newfoundland, the South African Henk Lateran, the French Mathieu sawmills, the emirate Khalid al qassimi and the french Sebastien Loeb. The top ten were grouped within 17 seconds. He also french Stéphane Peterhansel, winner of the Dakar Rally 13 times, he is fourteenth, followed by the Spanish Nani Roma.
Renew the reign
For his part, the American Ricky Arabic (Honda), defending champion, took the lead in the motorcycle rankings, with a 6-second margin over the Spaniard Joan Barreda (Sling).
The 2020 Dakar Rally winner was the last to start the motorcycle special, and presented his candidacy to renew his reign in Saudi Arabia by setting the best time of the day. He completed the tour in 6 minutes and 1 seconds. The time of the Spanish Joan Barreda, who placed second, improved by 6 seconds.
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TheAustraliann DanielSanders (KTM) is third, 13 seconds behind the first leader of the 43rd edition of the Dakar Rally, which for the second year in a row takes place in Saudi Arabia.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.