STAGE 1 – BUENOS AIRES > VILLA CARLOS PAZ
Scrutineering and the formalities are complete, Robby Gordon has launched the Gordini off the start podium in Buenos Aires and the 2015 has now begun with a 170km special section combined with 663km of liaison, where they will travel from Buenos Airies to Villa Carlos Paz. The first 170km special stage was won by Argentinean pairing #305 Orlando Terranova / Ronnie Graue in their red and black MINI ALL4 Racing, after Nasser Al-Attiyah who was originally the quickest was penalised 2:00min and relegated to 7th. The #308 Gordini of Robby Gordon and Johnny Campbell were elevated into 2nd, 42 sec shy of Terranova, while De Villiers and Von Zitzewitz nailed down third in their #303 Hilux, a further 8 sec back.
“We finally got started. That’s great and it’s the most important thing: the race is on!” said Terranova
“The first stage was a very convincing one. I was very cautious and we finished third, one minute behind Nasser. That’s exactly where we wanted to be. Johnny did an outstanding job, but we didn’t got on the attack. This year’s edition should be a great one. Sitting within one minute of the best time is rather good.” said Robby Gordon
Geoff and Edouard Boulanger finished in 23rd position, 5:34 behind the leading time, a great effort considering the lack of time in the car in the lead up to the event. “I will just be taking it a little bit below full pace to adjust to the car and its changes, day two is the longest and one of the toughest of this Dakar so I just want to get to day two using day one as a confidence builder and being in a good position for day two, dakar isn’t about an individual stage, its about the whole race,” Olholm said before the start.
#407 Di Lallo / Suzuki
Isuzu Motorsports driver Adrian Di Lallo anticipated a tough a day, and one was delivered. “What made the day tough was the start order – starting toward the back of the pack made it difficult because the hanging dust was thick which impaired visibility for overtaking,” Di Lallo said. “Still, we made up a few places and I’m happy with how we went.”
Di Lallo with co-driver Harry Suzuki started the day in position 105, and finished the day in 79th position overall. “Harry did an amazing job in the co-driver’s seat and we had a lot of fun,” Di Lallo said. “The car handled the rough and dusty conditions without fault. It’s only day one and we need to keep the car in good condition – we’ve got thirteen days ahead of us. We are keeping calm and staying focussed, ready for tomorrow’s monster stage.”
#26 Toby Price (Moto)
Australia’s Toby Price was off to a flyer on stage 1, improving on his 25th starting position to finish 11th on stage.
“Today went really well, I’m still just learning at the moment and the navigation wasn’t to hard today, we ended up 11th today after the first stage so I’m stoked! Tomorrow is the longest stage of the 2015 Dakar at 518km, the first 300km look a little tricky but fairly fast with some technical navigation sections judging from my road book.” said Toby on Facebook.
Tomorrow’s stage will take the competitors from Villa Carlos Paz to San Juan. A 26-kilometre liaison section is followed by a 518-kilometre special stage. Having completed the special stage, the teams will have to cover another 86 kilometres to the bivouac. This means that the 2015 Dakar’s second special stage already is its longest, meaning a special test for the entire range of driving skills. The first sections of the special stage features hard track surfaces but later, the drivers will have to cope with dusty tracks leading into the sand.