Dakar 2019 Stage One
Lima > Pisco 331 km | 84 km
The opening stage of the 41st Dakar Rally took competitors from the host city of Lima to Pisco, near the southern coast of Peru. Although short at just 84 kilometres, the day’s timed special still threw up a few challenges. Starting in reverse order, the top riders would have to wait until last to get their chance to enter the stage. Dust thrown up from the riders in front made overtaking difficult with the Peruvian heat also making conditions tough.
Honda’s Joan Barreda was quickest out of the blocks, obviously eager to make up for the disappointment of retiring while second in the rally last year, the 35-year-old Spaniard ended day one 1m34s ahead of Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla
Joan Barreda – P1
“I’m very happy to start like this. Today was a short stage but where everyone went very fast. Without making mistakes I managed to push for the whole of the special. In the beginning it’s always a bit difficult to pick up the rhythm, but from kilometre 20 I started to improve and I was able to maintain a good rhythm during the whole stage with very good results. Now it’s time to think about the long stages where the way of preparing them changes. Tomorrow we will have to stay focused, since the pace will also be high and there is more chance of getting lost.”
Dakar 2019 Stage One Video
Pablo Quintanilla – P2
“I felt really good on the bike today. It wasn’t an easy stage. There were some sandy dunes, some dusty parts and some tricky navigation. I was pushing from the start and I felt confident all the way through the stage. It’s good to start this race with a second place and it gives me extra confidence for the rest of the rally. Today we had many waypoints to cross and many direction changes. It was good to get things started with the first stage. This year I am feeling very confident and I am enjoying the race a lot. The bike is running great and I am looking forward to the coming stages.”
Ricky Brabec put his Honda in to third place on stage one, 2m52s behind teammate Barreda, and three-seconds ahead of leading Yamaha rider Adrien Van Beveren.
Ricky Brabec – P3
“First stage of this Dakar with some very good sensations. The stage was not very long, but there were many dunes and a lot of people. I have found the whole special went pretty well: there was a bit of fesh-fesh but I’m very happy to be here and am prepared to give it my best shot over the coming days.”
Adrien Van Beveren – P4
“We got this tricky opening stage out of the way and I’m happy with my result for the day. Today we got a small taste of what lies ahead. The start of the Dakar is always tricky and there’s some extra pressure. Today I tried to control this pressure and avoid mistakes by any means. I felt good racing in the dunes and my Yamaha was working great. As the race goes on, I want to gradually improve my pace while also staying 100% focused on the tracks and my navigation. Tomorrow we have a long stage and I’m looking forward to going back out there in the dunes.”
Keen to make up for his retirement from the 2018 event, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Sam Sunderland put in a strong performance on the opening day’s timed special to claim the fifth fastest time – just under three minutes down on the leader. Choosing to navigate his way through the stage rather than following existing tracks, the 2017 Dakar champion rode an intelligent day and is looking forward to tomorrow.
Sam Sunderland – P5
“I’m pleased with the opening stage, I felt good on the bike and happy with my pace. We had to be careful as the less experienced riders had opened the stage, I think some of the top guys took the risk and pushed the tracks, but I played it safe and navigated myself. It maybe cost me a little time but I think it was the best option. I caught a few riders ahead of me and lost some time in one of the rivers but I didn’t take any risks out there – we have a lot more days to come.”
Putting in a brave performance, just 12-seconds down on team-mate Sunderland, Toby Price successfully completed the stage despite nursing the wrist he broke just weeks beforehand. Aware of the task ahead of him, Price plans to take the rally day-by-day.
Toby Price – P6
“The first day has gone well. My wrist is giving me some pain so I know the next nine days are going to be tough. But I can’t complain, I’m happy with sixth place today. Conditions out there were ok, you just have to be careful in the dunes that you don’t send it off one of the big drops – I can’t afford to risk anything like that so I need to be a little careful. The bike is running sweet, so thanks to Joe my mechanic for that. It’s going to be a long one tomorrow but I’ll give it my best.”
Displaying the number one plate on his KTM 450 Rally, Matthias Walkner set off from Lima as the very last rider away. The Austrian made use of his experience to navigate the well-ridden route ahead of him to claim a solid seventh place.
Matthias Walkner – P7
“Today was a good day, it feels great to start the rally and I felt better than I imagined after being a little ill over the last few days. The opening riders made a good job of the navigation and most of the top guys are all at a similar pace, but it was really fast out there today. As well as the sand dunes there were some rivers and rocky sections – with the wind and the riders in front there was a lot of dust and that made things even more tricky. The bike is working well and we’ll continue to work on settings as the rally goes on. Overall, it’s been an encouraging day.”
Kevin Benavides hampered with the task of being the first of the elite riders to open the track, was ahead for much of the day but the Argentinean ended up with the eighth fastest time on the day, one place ahead of Chilean Jose Ignacio Cornejo, ninth some 5m22s adrift of Barreda. Paulo Gonçalves finished eleventh 6m41s behind leader Barreda.
Kevin Benavides – P8
“It was a very good first stage to warm up. I felt good, comfortable and I think I did a good job. We had to leave in reverse order and I left a little behind, with which I had some problems to overtake other motorcycles such as the area with a river where there was a lot of dust. Then, in the dunes, I was able to enjoy it a bit more. I felt very fast. I also found tracks that are not very reliable, but in general the navigation of this first stage was fairly easy.”
Highly experienced Queenslander Rodney Faggotter took his time to settle in and wrapped up the opening stage with a 29th place result. Enjoying a good feeling aboard the latest version of the WR450F Rally, the Aussie looks to continue building on his speed during the coming stages.
Rodney Faggotter – P29
“Overall, I had a good day. I kept a steady pace from start to finish of the timed special and brought my bike home without any issues. My goal for the start of this race is to be consistent and remain inside the top 30 in the first stages. Today we raced about 70% of dunes and a long, dry and dusty river bed. Especially in that river bed you had to be extra careful to avoid mistakes. So far so good and now my eyes are set on tomorrow’s tough stage.”
Tomorrow, Tuesday, will be one of the most unique stages of this Dakar 2019, as Joan Barreda will not be the first to open the race. That job will go to the cars who will start out before. When the bikes get their turn, they can look forward to a heavily churned up and rutted route after the passage of more than one hundred four-wheeled vehicles. After departing in Pisco, riders will head to the next bivouac in San Juan de Marcona after battling out the largest part of the stage in the dunes of Ica on a ride with a total of 554 kilometres including 342 special timed.
2019 Dakar Rally
Provisional Results Stage One
- BARREDA Joan SPA Monster Energy Honda Team 57’36
- QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing +01’34
- BRABEC Ricky USA Monster Energy Honda Team +02’52
- VAN BEVEREN Adrien FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team +02’55
- SUNDERLAND Sam GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +02’56
- PRICE Toby AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +03’08
- WALKNER Matthias AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team+03’12
- BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team +04’00
- CORNEJO José Ignacio CHI Monster Energy Honda Team +05’22
- DE SOULTRAIT Xavier FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team +05’54
- GONCALVES Paulo POR Monster Energy Honda Team +06’41
29.FAGGOTTER Rodney AUS Yamaha +11’27