Dakar 2014 Stage One Map
Dakar 2014 Stage One Map

-Dakar 2014 – Results – Stage One – Rosario to San Luis – 629 km liaison, 180 km special = 809 km

Unofficial Stage One Results
1, Joan Barreda, Spain, Honda, 2 hours 25:31
2, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM at 37 seconds
3, Cyril Despres, France, Yamaha at 1:40
4, Alain Duclos, France, Sherco at 1:56
5, Paolo Goncalves Portugal, Honda at 2:25
6, Chaleco Lopez, Chile, KTM at 3:24
7, Joan Pedrero, Spain, Sherco, 3:47
8, Michael Metge, France, Yamaha, 4:33
9, Sam Sunderland, UK, Honda, at 4.33
10, Alessandro Botturi, Italy Speedbrain 4:48
11, Ben Grabham, Australia, KTM 4:50
12, Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM at 5:11
13, David Casteu, France, KTM at 5:32
14, Jordi Villadoms, Spain, KTM at 5:51

Barreda tops Dakar Day One

Everyone expected the motorcycle competition to be wide open, and that is indeed what the classification shows after the opening stage. Joan Barreda posted the fastest time of the day, with no fewer than four different manufacturers in the top four: Marc Coma, Cyril Despres and… Alain Duclos with his Sherco.

What was already a certainty has now been confirmed! Joan Barreda surely deserves his reputation as the fastest rider in the world. The former Husqvarna rider who moved to Honda in the middle of the season inaugurated his 2014 Dakar with an acrobatic performance. The fast, winding courses on the programme of today’s special in the Córdoba area seemed tailor-cut to the Spanish stage hunter, who also used his favourable starting place (no. 3) to his advantage. He inched closer to Marc Coma, who was riding in the slipstream of defending champion Cyril Despres. In the end, Barreda perched himself at the top of the general classification and grabbed the 6th special of his career… Not bad, considering he has taken part in 30.

Looking forward, one could be forgiven for thinking the trio of pre-race favourites, Barreda, Coma and Despres, has left the competition in the dust, with their most commonly cited rivals, Paolo Gonçalves and “Chaleco” López 2′25″ and 3′24″ down, respectively, and Hélder Rodrigues conceding almost 9 minutes to his Honda teammate. However, the Dakar saw its first surprise, as Alain Duclos caught the pundits unaware to finish fourth in today’s stage, a mere 1′56″ slower than Barreda. The French rider had already said before the race that he was confident the changes made to his Sherco since last year would allow him to aim for the top places. Considering Duclos has not raced since the last edition, today’s performance shows his boast was not an empty one.

The fastest quad riders in the field showed why they are the favourites on the same course. Last year’s runner-up Ignacio Casale bolstered his claim to the crown by winning the opening stage. Although his margin is still razor-thin, the Chilean can be proud of beating defending champion Marcos Patronelli by 6″ to add a second Dakar stage win to his booty.

[youtube id=”rWASlj4lpFg” width=”853" height=”480"]

KTM Australia Report

Aussie desert racing hero Ben Grabham has made a solid start to this year’s Dakar Rally, emerging from the 809-kilometre Stage 1 as the fastest of the KTM supported riders, in 11th place in a 172-strong motorcycle field.

The Bathurst rider finished the 180-kilometre competitive stage with a time 02:30:21, four minutes and 50 seconds in arrears of Spaniard Joan Barreda Bort, who won the stage from KTM ace Marc Coma and Cyril Despres.

The 36th edition of the world’s biggest off-road race gave competitors 405 kilometres to settle in as they departed from Rosario, Argentina towards the first special stage of 180 kilometres, following that with a further 224km connection to this evening’s bivouac in San Luis.

Starting 32nd in the dust and slippery gravel roads of the first competitive stage, Grabham used the day to get a feel for his new factory support team KTM450 Rally and try to improve his start position for tomorrow. Both goals were achieved.

Tomorrow’s 700+ kilometre day includes a 359-kilometre competitive stage which will take the riders back up to 2000 metres to race around Sierra Navado before their first taste of sand and dunes – sixty kilometres of them.

Ben Grabham – “Just finished day 1, it was an 809k day with a 180k special. I started off 32nd and the special was slippery mountain gravel roads – very dusty and no room for error. I took my time in the dust and pushed a little where I could see and finished 11th. I’m happy with this, as it gives me a better starting position tomorrow and I’m up amongst the faster riders. My first ride on the dirt with the new bike was also pretty good. I’m going to make some small suspension adjustments to better suit me but other than that it’s very nice to ride.”

At eleventh place KTM Australia’s Ben Grabham was the fastest of the three official KTM-supported riders, trailing the lead time by just 4:50.
At eleventh place KTM Australia’s Ben Grabham was the fastest of the three official KTM-supported riders, trailing the lead time by just 4:50.

HRC Report

Honda had proved its strength last October with the new CRF450 RALLY, winning both the Morocco Rally and the Merzouga Rally. Thus, the team has taken command of the first stage of the 2014 edition, after 25 years of absence.

It was back on 11th January 1989 when the official Honda HRC savoured victory for the last time. That was when Gilles Lalay took the fifteenth stage of the Paris-Tunisia-Dakar. Now, in the second year back in the event after a 24 year official absence, Joan Barreda has picked up a crucial first stage win on the CRF450 RALLY. After 25 years, Honda are back in the running.

It was a very early start for the Rally Dakar. The pack of riders headed off at four in the morning on a long 405 kilometre liasion that took them towards the vibrant city of Rosario for the start of the 180 km special.

Joan Barreda on the Honda CRF450 RALLY, got off to a storming start in the special, clocking up the fastest time of all the 175 riders at the first time-check, in this, the 2014 edition of the legendary Dakar. He would repeat the same feat at the end of the stage. Team-mate Paulo Gonçalves also kept up a cracking pace, holding on to fifth place at the close.

Sam Sunderland’s Honda debut at the Dakar was productive, taking ninth position. Javier Pizzolito finished 19th and Helder Rodrigues in 22nd.

Joan Barreda 1st 2:25’31 TEAM HRC
It’s been a great day. I’m really pleased for the first win with Honda, especially for the team that has worked so hard the whole year to produce this new bike. I’m really happy to have begun the Dakar like this. Today was a tough one. Few kilometres, but with a very difficult track full of rocks and very slippery. I managed to get off really well in the second part, keep up a good pace and get a result in the end.

Paulo Goncalves 5th +02’25 TEAM HRC
It’s been a long day, over 800 kilometres and 11 hours on the bike with a very tricky special. Very technical, where I had a lot of difficulties with the bike sliding around a lot. In the second half I quickened the pace and the ride was much better. I’m very pleased for Joan’s victory, which is really good for us.

Sam Sunderland 8th +04’33 TEAM HRC
We’ve finished the first day. A very long special that for us started when we had to get up at 3.00 a.m. More than 800 kilometres and a long liaison too. It was a really intense ride throughout the special. I made a minor error at the beginning and maybe because I changed the settings that punished the rear brake excessively. But in spite of everything, it hasn’t been that bad a stage.

Javier Pizzolito 19th +08’09 TEAM HRC
It has been a hard stage. Being the first stage, I’d have thought that it would be more simple. A very sinuous mountain stage, that was very physically demanding. The bike was very well behaved, so let’s see how we get on in tomorrow’s stage, which should be very different from today’s.

Helder Rodrigues 22th +08’58 TEAM HRC
Today was a very difficult one for me, especially being the first of the Dakar. It was very technical with a lot of bends and you had to be really careful how you handled it. I’m not very happy with the result, but I was able to finish the stage, and you can’t take any risks at the Dakar just for one stage.

The opening stage of the Dakar 2014 couldn´t have gone any better for the HRC Rally Team and its top riders Joan Barreda and Paulo Goncalves. Barreda wins the 180 kilometre-long special test in the mountains of Cordoba, making it a legendary victory for Honda. It is the first win for a factory Honda in 25 years.

Joan Barreda: “I´m super happy to take the opening stage today. I´d like to give a big thanks to my team as a reward for the hard work in recent months. The stage wasn´t long, but it was a difficult one. We raced on hard-pack terrain with stones and blind corners. The course was twisty and you had to stay focused. I was doing fine, finding my rhythm soon and keeping it to the finish. I will enjoy this evening!”

Paulo Goncalves: “I´m pretty satisfied with the first day. I started 10th and was getting comfortable quickly, despite the layout being tricky and winding. I passed the riders in front of me soon. The circumstances for tomorrow are good, the bike is running well.”

Joan Barreda: "I´m super happy to take the opening stage today. I´d like to give a big thanks to my team as a reward for the hard work in recent months. The stage wasn´t long, but it was a difficult one. We raced on hard-pack terrain with stones and blind corners. The course was twisty and you had to stay focused. I was doing fine, finding my rhythm soon and keeping it to the finish. I will enjoy this evening!"
Joan Barreda: “I´m super happy to take the opening stage today. I´d like to give a big thanks to my team as a reward for the hard work in recent months. The stage wasn´t long, but it was a difficult one. We raced on hard-pack terrain with stones and blind corners. The course was twisty and you had to stay focused. I was doing fine, finding my rhythm soon and keeping it to the finish. I will enjoy this evening!”

KTM Report

Red Bull KTM Factory rider Marc Coma launched his bid for a fourth Dakar Rally title when riders set out on Stage One of the world’s toughest rally on Sunday. At the end of a long day on the KTM 450 Rally bike Coma finished second to Joan Barreda of Spain just 37 seconds behind the leader.

Red Bull KTM Factory rider Marc Coma launched his bid for a fourth Dakar Rally title when riders set out on Stage One of the world’s toughest rally on Sunday. At the end of a long day on the KTM 450 Rally bike Coma finished second to Joan Barreda of Spain just 37 seconds behind the leader.
Coma said he took things relatively easy on Day One, saying: “It was not easy with just a special of 180 km and on the first day of the Dakar you don’t yet really have the right feeling. But I am happy for what we managed today. I took things fairly easy but the race is long and this is just the beginning.”

All four of Coma’s KTM factory teammates were within six minutes of the leader. Chaleco Lopez of Chile was well placed at sixth fastest, trailing only by 3 minutes 24 seconds. Ruben Faria finished eleventh fastest at 5 minutes 11 and Jordi Villadoms was thirteenth at just under six minutes. Riders are competing on the brand new KTM 450 Rally bike.

Lopez was also satisfied with his ride on the opening day saying it was “‘very technical”. “I’m very happy but it was a long first day with an early start. But I didn’t have any crashes and I have a good feeling for the new motorcycle.” Faria too came away satisfied with Day One: “Today was just a small special but a long liaison. The special was not so easy. There were a lot of turns, left and right and up and down but the bike is great and everything went well.”

At eleventh place KTM Australia’s Ben Grabham was the fastest of the three official KTM-supported riders, trailing the lead time by just 4:50. Kuba Przygonski of Poland came in at twentieth at 8:23 and South African Riaan van Niekerk finished twenty-seventh at 11:14.

KTM Team Manager Alex Doringer was a contented man at the end of Day One. “I’m very happy with the performance of the riders and the bike. Marc and Chaleco were perfect today and Villadoms and Ruben took it easy and used the stage to settle in to get a good feeling. Grabham did a fantastic ride and Jakub and Riaan both finished the day smiling. they are sure then can improve as the rally goes on.”

While riders had a total of 809 km starting at Rosario, Argentina and finishing at San Luis, it was just 180 km in the middle of the stretch was timed special. The timed special sent riders over narrow tracks with challenging stony sections and blind jumps that called upon good concentration and ended in a climb up to 2400 m. The first 20 all finished within 10 minutes of the day’s fastest time, however they all face a bigger challenge in Monday’s Stage Two. They face another long ride of 724 km from San Luis to San Rafael, including 359 km of timed special.

Organizers promise that the first part of Monday’s special stage will be the fastest of the 2014 rally. Then for the last 100 km riders go straight into the grey dunes of Nihuil and will challenge even the most experienced rider and force them to draw on all their technical skills.

Speedbrain Report

The Speedbrain customer team delivered a steady and controlled performance at the opening of the Rally Dakar 2014. The riders who are looked after by the Bavarian rally squad could position themselves well for the coming 12 stages. All five Speedbrain representatives had to cope with a lot of traffic and dust. This is especially true for Alessandro Botturi. The Italian started the day 19th and was able to move up to 10th at the finish line. Jeremias Israel moved up from 33rd to 24th.

The first special test was twisty and dangerous. The riders had to be focused on a day that proved more selective than anticipated. It was a matter of avoiding a crash and not risking too much. The Speedbrain team handled the task very well.

Alessandro Botturi: “The special stage began with a high pace. I had to make passes and eat a lot of dust. The second part was more like Enduro, tight and dangerous. I didn´t want to risk anything and made no mistakes other than a small one. It was a very good day.”

Monday provides another long stage for the field. The order of the day: over 700 km total distance, almost 360 km of them forming the special stage. The final part is leading through sandy terrain.

Yamaha Report

The long winter wait is finally over as the 2014 Dakar Rally got underway today in South America. Defending champion Cyril Despres took third place on the first special stage of the rally, coming in 1’40secs behind the lead on his first Dakar stage as a Yamaha Factory Racing rider. As the first rider on to the stage Despres had no tracks to follow and so set the route for the following riders.

Despres’ support rider Mickael Metge and Oliver Pain were the next Yamaha Factory Racing riders in the rankings, Metge taking eighth on his opening day and Fellow Frenchman Pain taking 16th. Dutch Yamaha Netherlands Verhoeven rider Frans Verhoeven eased his way in to the 2014 Dakar, taking a careful ride in to 18th position to kick off his challenge.

The first timed action of the 2014 Dakar saw the riders tackle a 180km special stage in the Córdoba region of Argentina. Starting in Rosario, the riders first had to tackle a 405km connection before competing in the 180km timed special. They then had a further 204km connecting ride to wrap up the day in San Luis.

Cyril Despres – “When your alarm clock goes off at 02.40 in the morning you know the Dakar has really started! And in true Dakar tradition that was followed by 404km of liaison, before we got to the 180km special. Opening the piste it took me a while to find my pace and then about 50km from the end, coming out of a canyon, I saw a dust trail behind me and thought to myself, ‘ah yes, Marc is back’ and accelerated a little. In the great scheme of things the finishing position isn’t of much importance, but it is good to know that I’m up to speed and overall it was a good day for myself and my team, on our first Dakar special together.”

Michael Metge – “To be really honest I was a little bit nervous this morning sitting on the start line waiting to be flagged away. Happily I quickly settled down and not long after that really start to enjoy myself over the fast, twisty tracks. Hats off to ‘The Boss’, he really knows how to set up a motorcycle. I think in general we tend to ride with the suspension too firm, but with Cyril’s settings the bike felt both comfortable and safe. In the end I got past three riders and am pretty happy with how the whole day turned out.”

Olivier Pain – “The first day and a good warm up stage – twisty, slippery, with plenty to catch you out. Not the kind of day to take any risks and so I took it easy from start to finish. Overall it meant not a great finishing position, but in terms of time, under 7 minutes is nothing. Tomorrow looks like much more my kind of stage. I might get a little bit held up over the first part of the special but I reckon I should be able to make up some time over the dunes at the end.”

Frans Verhoeven – “A long day – over 11 hours in the saddle! The special was fast, with no room to run off the track, so I took it pretty easy and rode at my own pace. In the middle of the special, at an altitude of around 2000 metres, I lost a little time but pulled some back at the end. This evening I’m just a couple of places behind Olivier and more importantly only 7 minutes behind the leader, so overall I’m reasonably satisfied.”

Tomorrow – Stage 2: San Luís-San Rafael – Liaison: 365 km Special: 359 km Total: 724 km

Grey dunes go hand in hand with surprises – The fastest special stage of the rally, at least for its first part, will also be the one where riders will have to face the first dunes. And it won’t just be a brief encounter with sand: in the last 100 kilometres, the exploration of the grey dunes of Nihuil will be even more intensive than during previous visits. The sand is more firm there, but the experience will provide a great deal of insight about each of the competitors’ technical skills. In short it will be a veritable test.

Dakar 2014 Stage Two Map
Dakar 2014 Stage Two Map