The first stage of the Dakar Rally 2015 has started from Buenos Aires this weekend, and the iconic race through the toughest of terrains is a go for 2015. The day was a relatively easy affair that allowed riders to check their machines and get into the groove of what will be a gruelling competition. A 144km liaison ride was made through the Argentinean countryside before the competitors reached the 175km timed “special” stage. Another long (519km) liaison section ended the day, and everyone bivouacked in Villa Carlos Paz.
Since the special stage was short, the riders packed close on the standing, with less than six minutes separating the Top 20 riders. KTM’s Sam Sunderland drew first blood with the stage win, with teammate Marc Coma 1’12 behind in third. “It’s difficult to judge your strategy based on the first day because you still don’t know who’s pulled out all the stops. It’s also important not to go all in, you’ve got to leave something for the other stages. However, I think I had a good special and that’s always a reason to be happy,” said Sunderland
“The bike didn’t miss a beat, it was very fast and I probably posted a good time. I’m a contender, for the first day. I hope I’m also a contender at the end, but we’ve only covered 175 kilometres and there’s still a long road before us,” he added. KTM’s Sam Sunderland got off to a strong start in the 2015 Dakar Rally, taking the Stage 1 win with a time of 1:18:57. He narrowly beat Team HRC’s Paulo Goncalves, the Portuguese rider logging a time just five seconds adrift of Sunderland for second-place. Defending Dakar champion and teammate to Sunderland, Marc Coma, finished the first day in third.
Goncalves’ teammate, Joan Barreda, finished fourth but was less than two minutes behind the leader. Sherco’s Alain Duclos took fifth ahead of Barreda’s teammate, Jeremias Israel, in sixth. KTM pilot David Casteu earned seventh followed by his teammate, Matthias Walkner, in eighth. For the Yamaha Racing, the pace was a little slower, with Olivier Pain finishing 13th on the day, 3’34 back from Sunderland. Motorcycle USA contributing editor Llewelyn Pavey ended the opening day in 84th position followed by his father Simon in 85th. Simon was afterward hit with a two-minute penalty which dropped him 10 positions down to 95th for the day.
The action gets serious in Stage 2, with 321 miles of special timed section planned.
Dakar Rally 2015 Stage 1 Results
1. Sam Sunderland GBR (KTM) 1:18:57
2. Paulo Goncalves PRT (Honda) 1:19:02
3. Marc Coma ESP (KTM) 1:20:09
4. Joan Barreda ESP (Honda) 1:20:38
5. Alain Duclos FRA (Sherco) 1:21:05
6. Jeremias Israel CHL (Honda) 1:21:13
7. David Casteu FRA (KTM) 1:21:33
8. Matthias Walkner AUT (KTM) 1:21:39
9. Pablo Quintanilla CHL (KTM) 1:21:55
10. Ruben Faria PRT (KTM) 1:21:59
Watch the Video review here for the Dakar Rally!!!