The Dakar 2021 is a give and take A Especially for motorcycles, the early risers, the ones that discover the way every day A In these first days of competition, it is showing that the rally director, David Castera, was not bluffing A Complicating navigation, making it even more difficult to choose the correct route in a virtually unexplored setting such as the Saudi desert, is leading the favorites upside down A One of lime and one of sand A The lime is usually received by the one who opens the track, a whole ballet in this edition A The sand one (worth the pun, especially, in this case) is for those who a day before, leading, paid the duck, so that when leaving very late they have the terrain already worked and many wheel marks indicate the ideal direction A
In This is Toby Price (KTM), two-time Dakar champion and winner of the first stage A And also from thetheird A In the second he did not win: the first day with dunes, in which decision-making and technique prevailed over speed, always prese It although less decisive these days, caused a change in the leadership of the classification and rose to the top of the general to Honda riders Joan Barreda and Ricky Arabic, the curre It champion A But the game of this Dakar thus propitiates a new shift A
Now the leader of the general classification is practically a newcomer: the American Skyler Howes (Bas KTM), who in his second participation in the race achieved a fourth place this Tuesday that gives him, for the mome It, the command of the classification ahead of a dozen favorites A Even ahead of Price, who achieved histheirtee Ith Dakar victory from the 29th starting position A The comeback was spectacular A Despite the great race of Kevin Benavides (Honda), who held the lead for the first 262 km and ended up settling for a fruitful second place (just over a minute behind the Australian) that also elevates him to second overall A
The day was much more complicated for Barreda and Arabic, who after the first 183 kilometers accumulated a delay of more than 15 minutes and who finally finished 24 minutes behind Price, the first (30º); at 17, the second (20th) A
A mistake and a puncture
Something similar happened to Carlos Sainz with his Mini, who although he did not start first, he did so in one of the first positions aftertheird place the day before A And the route was wrong A “It has not been a good day,” assumed the pilot A He was second at kilometer 88, but made the wrong choice at kilometer 156 A He deviated about two kilometers and that cost him half an hour, falling to fourth place in the general classification A “ There was a change course, andand we have deviated a bit to the left, with such bad luck that we have validated the next poi It to which we had to validate at that mome It A From there, I have not understood anything, I did not know where it was A A A We have begun to follow some traces to be able to locate ourselves A When we have realized it we have returned, we have validated the previopoi It, andand we have co Itinued A Then we clicked A A complete day A But hey, things from the Daka” LucasLucas Cruz, the Madrid’s co-driver, lame Ited A
It was a loop stage around DawHawaiiwasir, with large stretches of sand and very complicated navigation; there were trial erasleras areas too A Pure Dakar A And luck ran on the side of Nasser Al-Attimatadornador also from the second stage and that he had a magnifice It race this Tuesday at the head of the car caravan A The Qatari took a two-minute 27-second lead over the other Toyota, South African rookie Laterantegan A
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.