Leg 1: Lima > Pisco: An all-sand appetizer
First into the stage were the quad riders (in reverse order compared with their start number), followed by the bikers, then the car and truck runners.
Nasser Al-Attiyah posted the fastest time of the 103-strong car field, providing clear evidence of his resolve to stem Peugeot’s recent domination of the event. As a result, the Qatari and his co-driver Mathieu Baumel will run first on the road on Leg 2.
The first competitive section of the rally proved something of an ordeal for Peugeot’s four crews who all finished outside of the top 10.
The performance of the day was undoubtedly that of Mini’s Bryce Menzies who got his Dakar debut off to a resounding start. The American Baja specialist and BFGoodrich® ambassador recorded the fourth best time, just 38 seconds short of Al-Attiyah and ahead of all his Mini team-mates, including fifth-placed Nani Roma.
Of the amateurs being followed closely by the brand, Markus Walcher clocked the 50th best effort, while Cristina Gutierrez was 57th despite a scare while descending a dune.
Serious business begins today (Sunday), however, with a 267-kilometre stage which includes almost 175km of soft, inhospitable sand.