2018 Dakar Rally: Stage 1 & 2 Highlights
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 1 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.
The reigning champion Sam Sunderland (KTM) won the first stage special 32-seconds ahead of Adrien van Beveren (Yamaha). Followed by Pablo Quintanilla and Joan Barreda in 3rd and 4th position, while 2016 Dakar winner, Toby Price came home in 14th.
Toby Price, was happy to complete the first stage safely. Only now returning to competition following the injury sustained in last year’s event, Price rode well, minimising any risks to post the 14th fastest time of the day.
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.”
Provisional Results Stage One – 2018 Dakar Rally
1. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 20:55
2. Adrien van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 21:28 +0:33
3. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Husqvarna, 21:51 +0:56
4. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 21:52 +0:57
5. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 22:02 +1:07
14. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 24:16 +3:21
25. Rodney Faggotter (AUS), Yamaha
Stage 2 of the 2018 Dakar Rally comprised a short 12km liaison section that led into a gruelling 267km timed special to the east of Pisco. The loop covered similar terrain to the previous day’s short stage – soft sand dunes and blind crests that proved both tiring for the riders and difficult to navigate.
Improving on his sixth-place result from day one, Matthias Walkner rode well in the heat of the desert. The Austrian moved through the field as the stage progressed to finish in third place, less than two minutes behind second-placed Adrien van Beveren. Walkner was pleased with his result and hopes to carry his pace into tomorrow’s longer stage.
Aussie Toby Price continues to get himself dialled in, both to his new KTM 450 RALLY and to competition in general. The Australian increased his pace as the day went on and moved up from his start position of 14th to 10th at the end of the stage.
Toby Price: “It was the first stage with proper navigation today and I did ok. The cars ahead of us were everywhere – I think their numbers must have been halved after today, there were so many of them sidelined. I managed to catch Laia quite early on, around the 40 or 50km mark, and we rode together for a while. Overall, I am feeling good and inside the top-10 is not a bad place to be. I just need to concentrate on my riding, navigation and hopefully, I can pick up the pace a little as the race progresses.”
Provisional Results Stage Two – 2018 Dakar Rally
1. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 2:56:44
2. Adrien van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 2:59:38 +2:54
3. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 3:01:08 +4:24
4. Michael Metge (FRA), Honda, 3:01:23 +4:39
5. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 3:02:27 +5:43
10. Toby Price (AUT), KTM, 3:03:24 +6:40
21. Rodney Faggotter (AUS), Yamaha
Provisional Standings after Stage Two – 2018 Dakar Rally
1. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 3:18:36
2. Adrien van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 3:21:06 +2:30
3. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 3:23:26 +4:50
4. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 3:23:40 +5:04
5. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Husqvarna, 3:24:20 +5:44
10. Toby Price (AUT), KTM, 3:27:40 +9:04