DAKAR-2019: first kilometers

SS-1  | Lima – Pisco  | Date: 07.01.2019 | (GMT-5)
Special stage: 84 km  |  Total distance: 331 km | Liaison: 247 km


The first DAKAR 2019 special stage has started this afternoon from the bivouac in Pisco; the crews had to overcome 247 kilometers of the liaison on the way to it. “Pisco” in Quechua means “birdie”. Initially the city of Pisco flourished thanks to nearby vineyards and the production of the eponymous strong alcoholic drink “Pisco”, a kind of grape vodka. However, today in Pisco alcohol has not besotted – the adrenaline has made the racers dizzy.

As the last year, the first stage in Peru has incorporated all the variety of landscapes and road surfaces – from sand dunes, stony river beds, to soft fesh-fesh and fast gravel roads. Short, by the rally raids standards, special stage distance was very tricky. Many drivers got lost, stuck in the sand funnels, there were also the first retirements. Only 96 crews out of 100 reached the finish line.

Nasser Al-Attiyah in the Toyota Hilux was the day leader – the Qatari was the first at the special stage, thus rising to the third position in the DAKAR records table in terms of the number of SSs won – 32 victories; only Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel (41 victories) and Finn Ari Vatanen (with 50 victories) outstripped Al-Attiyah.

Carlos Sainz, who lost one minute and 59 seconds to Al-Attiyah, was the second among the off-roaders, and Jakub Przygonskifinished exactly one second after Sainz. To say that the struggle was tight is a pretty short description, it is enough to see how the drivers passed the time control points.

Vladimir Vasilyev kept the third position until WP-2, but nevertheless he had to give way to the Pole, who was faster than the Petersburger for 18 seconds at the special stage finish.

The crews from the fifth to the seventh position finished in the 10-second “corridor”, further the gaps of the previous one from the next one increased.

47 control points, scattered along the route, forced the co-drivers to be extremely attentive. The Russians finished without any troubles at this speedy distance, although they tried to be careful – in such a short section the problem in the form of a punctured wheel can throw the crew away far down the standings.

Vladimir Vasilyev, driver, No. 311,“Motorcycles started before the off-road vehicles and, probably, some riders had problems with navigation, since the special stage start was delayed for an hour and 15 minutes for us. The face even sunburnt while we were waiting for the start. Today there were dunes, a river with stones, and fesh-fesh. The first special stage was “Peru in miniature”. We didn’t push, but drove rather quickly and carefully. It is necessary to get used to the sands; and in the riverbed we were really slow, I was careful there, trying to protect the wheels from puncturing. Approximately at the 10thkilometer we caught up with Orlando Terranova and drove on at our own pace, without focusing on anyone”.

Tomorrow the total distance will be 553 kilometers, 342 of them will be the special stage. The codrivers will be very important  here, because according to the organizers, “90% of the track will consist of the absence of the track –“ off-track ”. More than a third of the distance will again fall on the sands, where about 15% are in dunes. There will really be a lot of sands tomorrow, and the crews need to be not only attentive, but also show the maximum driving ability on such a surface. However, those who will get out to the special stage gravel roads, where large gravel and stones are promised, will not have to relax – assessment of the situation and control are of high importance. After about 100 kilometers steep descents from high dunes to the ocean will begin – a difficult area that will become a point of no return. Now is the time to calculate the taken control points, since if you go down, there will be no way back – just go ahead!

Tomorrow there will be two checkpoints, the motorcycles and the quads should pass the second CP until 5:30 pm, otherwise the organizers have the right to prevent them from passing the final part of the special stage because of its complexity, and they will send such crews to the bivouac along an alternative route.It confirms the complexity of the special stage second part that will pass along the ocean once again.

1ST START[GMT -5] 09:30 09:30 11:54 11:54 13:35
Number Of Participants  
START 137 26 100 30 41
LEFT 137 26 99 30 41
ARRIVAL 135 26 96 30 35