Dakar 2018 - First stage highlights

Today’s special dominated by Sam Sunderland

The opening stage of Dakar 2018, Lima - Pisco offered the riders a taste of the challenging Peruvian dunes. An impressive number of 139 participants took the start in the motorcycle category. The stage consisted of a 242 km liaison and a 31 km timed special. The KTM rider Sam Sunderland used his desert riding skills and managed to pull the best time in today’s special.

Sunderland takes the opener

In his fight to defend the 2017 Dakar title, Sam Sunderland managed to set himself as a leader in today’s opener. He posted the fastest time in the inaugural special, 20 minutes 56 seconds in a battle against a very competitive Adrien van Beveren ( Yamaha ), Pablo Quintanilla ( Husqvarna ) by 32 seconds and a minute ahead Joan Barreda ( Honda ). This win is very important for the KTM team raising the hopes for the Dakar 2018 title. 

The second KTM star Matthias Walkner finished the day in the 6th position, almost a minute and a half behind teammate Sunderland. Unfortunately, Toby Price seems to be out of pace achieving only a modest 14th place today. Fortunately, the competition has just begun and, a lot of things can happen.

Important absence in the Team Honda squad

One of the Team Honda top-gun riders, Paulo Gonçalves, had to withdraw from the competition due to a shoulder injury. The Portuguese rider suffered an injury during training that forced him to step aside. Gonçalves debuted in the Dakar back in 2006 and managed a second place in 2015 and 6th in 2017. His place in the Team Honda squad will be taken by the younger rider Juan Ignacio Cornejo that took an honourable 17th place last year.

 The top ten rankings at today’s special:

1. S. SUNDERLAND - KTM - 000:20:56

2. A. VAN BEVEREN - YAMAHA - 000:21:28

3. P. QUINTANILLA  - HUSQVARNA - 000:21:51

4. J. BARREDA BORT - HONDA - 000:21:52

5. X. DE SOULTRAIT - YAMAHA - 000:22:02

6. M. WALKNER - KTM -  000:22:18

7. F. CAIMI - YAMAHA - 000:22:26

8. D. NOSIGLIA JAGER - KTM - 000:22:28

9. A. MEO - KTM - 000:22:44

10. K. BENAVIDES - HONDA - 000:22:48

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