Monday, January 18

Carlos Sainz wins the first stage and already leads the Dakar


They call him ‘Ex Matador’ for a reason. And for something, too, at 58 years old, Carlos Sainz He is more than a motorsport legend, although from Saudi Arabia, where this new edition of the Rali Dakar takes place, an emigrant from Africa, he wants to reduce the euphoria and optimism for his first victory in this year’s edition, after being the winner of 2020, before the pandemic, and after the disappointment that he took on Saturday, in the prologue of the test, when he played, a setback that condemned him to descend to 28th place in the general classification.

But SainzDespite his reputation for misfortunes and setbacks that have separated him from many more successes, both in the Dakar and in his distant pilot stage in the World Rally Championship, he always has the ability to react, overcome obstacles and scare his rivals, as has happened this time with his teammate Stephane Peterhansel, also at the wheel of a Mini, an expert equal to or better than the Madrilenian in the art of winning and dominating the Rali Dakar. Sainz He led the French pilot by 28 seconds, after Saturday’s bitter experience in the barely 11 kilometers of track that had the prologue of the Arab test.

However, with 277 kilometers of special and 345 of link between the towns of Jeddah and Bisha, Sainz He pressed the accelerator to always maintain an intense duel in which both drivers alternated at the front of the stage. In the end everything was resolved in favor of the Madrilenian and that at kilometer 222, Sainz He was more than three minutes behind his French teammate, before the final reaction came.

Despite this, the differences, as is logical in thisrallyt of ralli, are very tight, since Sainz only beats Peterhansel in eight seconds, in what at the moment seems like an intense duel between the two Mini drivers. “I am very happy with this first place, especially since at the beginning of the stage I suffered another puncture and, in addition, I had a problem with the road book.”

Something similar, in the motorcycle section, happened to Joan Barreda, who complained about the bad indications in the description of the first stage, a circumstance that caused it to be lost and thus give up more than 15 minutes. Your KTM partner, the Australian Toby Price, he was proclaimed the winner of the stage and claimed as the absolute winner in 2016 and 2019. The American and winner of the last edition of the event, Ricky brabec (Honda), crossed the finish line 18 minutes from Price, due to a navigation problem at the beginning of the day.

Surprise of the day

the catSan Laia sanz qualified in 33rd position, more than 39 minutes behind Price on a day where the big surprise was the victory of the Burgos pilot Cristina Gutierrez in the category of light vehicles, that kinbuggiesini buggys that roll at more than 100 kilometers per hour. At the wheel of a Toyota, the 28-year-old Spaniard became the first woman to achieve a partial victory in the Dakar in 16 years.

This Monday the second stage is disputed where the participants will have to go 685 kilometers, 457 of them timed, and the presence of the first dunes.

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