Dakar Stage 1: Lima to Pisco

A fast start to the all-Peru edition

FOR 2019, the Dakar Rally is taking place solely in Peru. While this means less varied terrain and altitude, it does mean more dunes – a whole load more.

Yesterday saw the rally begin with a 52-mile timed special stage and 153-mile liaison from Lima to Pisco.

Britain’s KTM sweetheart and 2017 champion Sam Sunderland made a strong start to the 2019 race, after being forced to withdraw from last year’s event in stage four due to injury. Sunderland finished the opening day fifth fastest, with a time of 1h 00m 56s – 2m 56s behind Monster Energy Honda stage winner Joan Barreda.

Another Honda rider, Ricky Brabec, also made the top third, 2m 52s behind Barreda, while Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla took second, just 1m 34s behind.

Meanwhile, Sunderland’s KTM Red Bull teammate, and reigning Dakar champion, sat in seventh place, just over three minutes down, after illness hampered his training in December.

Yamaha was on the offensive, with the intention to knock KTM off it’s 17-strong consecutive winning streak. Adrien Van Beveren sat in fourth, 2m 55s behind Barreda. His teammate Xavier De Soultrait finished the first stage in 10th, 5m 54s behind the lead.

EICMA - KTM walkarounds