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Al Attiyah wins first stage of Dakar Rally

Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah

Pisco (Peru), January 8: Double former champion Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah won the opening stage of the Dakar Rally 2019 between Lima and Pisco to lead the race in Peru.

Al Attiyah, the winner in 2011 and 2015 is a minute and 59 seconds ahead of Spain's Carlos Sainz in second place, with Poland's Jakub Przygonski a second further behind in third spot after a day of racing on desert tracks.

"It's always nice to win and I'm very happy with the car," he said of his high-wheeled, beefed up Toyota. "It' better than last year's model."

Glorious day

Glorious day

The glorious day that all desert racers have been waiting for finally arrived finally.

All the months of preparation were put into practice on the dunes around Pisco as stage one as the world's toughest rally got underway.

Special stage

Special stage

The opening special stage took place after a 247-kilometre liaison route brought the Dakar convoy from Lima to Pisco - then it was 84 kilometres against the clock in the dunes.

The journey south along Peru's Pacific Ocean coastline was clearly enough to bring the best out of the rally's serious competitors.

Familiar names

Familiar names

Stephane Peterhansel, a thirteen-time Dakar winner is seventh at the 41st edition of the race, which has ten stages this year.

Further familiar names such as Giniel de Villiers (SA), and Cyril Despres (FRA) could also be found in the Top 10 on stage one.

Sand track

Sand track

Former World Rally Championship winner Sebastien Loeb is in 13th position and is making his third appearance.

Second stage steps things up in terms of distance and difficultly. The convoy is off to San Juan de Marcona and to get there they need to complete 350 kilometres of racing against the clock.

Expect a fair amount of drama in the dunes on Tuesday as the cars lead off and are forced to make the first tracks in the sand.

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    Story first published: Tuesday, January 8, 2019, 11:16 [IST]
    Other articles published on Jan 8, 2019
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