Sainz starts strong and Alonso opens its ninth at the start of the Dakar - La Provincia

Spanish pilot 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 raid hardest in the world at the end of the day at 3:19:04, beating in 2:14 the thirteen times Dakar champion, the Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel (Mini), and in 2:50 the Madrid.

At its premiere in the competition, Alonso, accompanied by Marc Coma as co-pilot, successfully passed the first exam and only 15:27 left 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 its 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 contender 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 kms, 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.


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