Good start of Fernando Alonso in the Dakar Rally
Carlos Sainz showed again that he is among the favorites and gave just over two minutes to be third
The Spanish driver Carlos Sainz (Mini) has finished third in cars in the first stage of the Dakar Rally, disputed between the Saudi towns of Yeda and Al Wajh, in which the Lithuanian Vaidotas Zala (Mini) has been imposed and in which Fernando Alonso (Toyota) has been eleventh and has given up only 15 minutes, while Australian Toby Price (KTM) has started defending the title in the best way by winning on motorcycles.
After 752 kilometers, 319 of them timed, Zala offered the first surprise of the toughest raid in the world by completing the day at 3:19:04, beating in 2:14 the thirteen times Dakar champion, the Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel (Mini) , and in 2:50 to Madrid. In its premiere in the competition, Alonso, accompanied by Marc Coma as co-driver, successfully passed the first exam and only left 15:27 with respect to the winner of the stage. Meanwhile, the current champion of the car category, Qatari Nasser al-Attiyah (Toyota), finished fourth at just over five minutes (5:33) from Zala after suffering a breakdown. In the motorcycle category, the Australian Toby Price (KTM) began his defense of the title with a victory in the inaugural stage, ahead of the American Ricky Brabec (Honda) and the Austrian Matthias Walkner (KTM), on a day in which Joan Barreda (Honda), the great aspirant among the Spaniards to the final triumph, was seventh at 7:51 of the winner. The first Dakar in history in Saudi Arabia will have a total of 7,856 kilometers, of which 5,097 will be timed. This Monday will take place the second stage, of 393 kilometers with 367 of special between Al Wajh and Neom; for motorcycles and quads it will also be the first part of the ‘super marathon’ stage.