Dakar 2018 – Day One

The 2018 Dakar Rally is finally underway after 139 bikes, 92 cars, 49 quads and 44 trucks revved their engines on the start line in Lima.

Stage one out of 14 consisted of a 242km liaison from the Peruvian capital up the Pacific Coast to Pisco, where a 31km special stage took place.

It was a short but tactical start to the 40th edition of the legendary rally raid race, with drivers potentially not wanting to open the road on Sunday and leave a trail for their rivals to follow.

British history maker Sam Sunderland has been sleeping in an oxygen tent to prepare for the race this year, and the Red Bull KTM Factory Team rider got his title defence off to a blistering start by posting the fastest time and winning the stage in front of Adrien van Beveren and Pablo Quintanilla.

Sam Sunderland

“I had a great time today, the departure podium was good fun, then we had a 200km liaison to the special. The 30km loop through the dunes went well – the bike felt good and I feel really comfortable. Although it was just a short one today, it’s always good to get a stage win. Tomorrow will be tougher, but if I can stay consistent and not make any mistakes I’m hoping for another good result.”

Sam Sunderland led the way as Dakar 2018 got underway
Sam Sunderland led the way as Dakar 2018 got underway

Teammate and 2016 winner Toby Price was more than three minutes back in 14th in his first return to Dakar since injury.

Toby Price

“I’m happy to get that first stage under my belt. I didn’t quite get the result that I wanted but it was a really short stage and there’s a long race ahead. My plan is to build things up slowly and take each day as it comes. I bombed out hard early on last year so I wanted to get today done and then concentrate on getting into the race a little more. The pace is there, and my leg feels good so I’m excited for the rest of event.”

Toby Price
Toby Price

Taking his time to settle in, Rodney Faggotter brought his Yamaha to the finish of today’s stage in 25th position. Feeling good in the warm temperatures of the Peruvian countryside, the Aussie is looking to continue building on his speed during the coming stages.

Rodney Faggotter

“Stage one went pretty well for me. With it featuring a short 30km-long special stage, I did my best trying to settle in as smoothly as possible. Riding in the deep sand demands a specific technique and I’m gradually getting used to it again. With riders starting in reverse order, we needed to be extra careful when passing people. I played it smart and tried to avoid making any mistakes. Overall, everything is going according to plan and I’m happy we got this event going. It’s going to be a long and demanding two weeks of racing, but I’m more than ready for them.”

Rodney Faggotter
Rodney Faggotter

Sunday’s stage two of the 2018 Dakar Rally features a circular route that starts and finishes in the city of Pisco. Including a short liaison section of just 12km, stage two will see competitors race a 267km-long timed special in sandy conditions. It will be the first of many difficult stages in this big adventure towards the finish line of the 2018 Dakar Rally.

Dakar 2018 – Day One Results

242km liaison – 31km Special Stage
  1. Sunderland – KTM
  2. Van Beveren – Yamaha +33s
  3. Quintanilla – Husqvarna +56s
  4. Barreda Bort – Honda +57s
  5. De Soultrait – Yamaha +1m07s
  6. Walkner – KTM +1m23s
  7. Caimi – Yamaha +1m31s
  8. Nosiglia Jager – KTM +1m33s
  9. Meo – KTM +1m49s
  10. Benavides – Honda +1m53s
  11. Brabec – Honda +2m47s
  12. Sanz – KTM +3m16s
  13. Chunchunguppe Shivashankar – Hero +3m16s
  14. Price – KTM +3m21s
  15. Cornejo Florimo – Honda +3m21s