A flat out race of over 275km defined day two at the 2017 Dakar Rally as some pre-race favourites made big statements in the car and bike races. There was no catching Sébastien Loeb (FRA) of Team Peugeot Total in the car contest while Toby Price (AUS) of the Red Bull KTM Factory Team was quickest on two wheels between Resistencia and San Miguel de Tucumán.
Nine-time WRC title winner Loeb and his co-driver Daniel Elena (MON) have wasted little time adding to the four stage victories they collected during their Dakar debut 12 months ago. This duo and their PEUGEOT 3008 DKR powered through a course that allowed them to press home their two-wheel drive advantage over their competitors while showing unbelievable car control.
“It was a very fast stage and I had good drive today. The car was working very well and when I had the chance I was able to push. Now we will move to stages where navigation will be more important and that’s a different type of challenge.”
Loeb’s closest challenger was yesterday’s stage winner Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) as the Toyota Gazoo Racing driver came home 1m23m behind the Frenchman. The Qatari is now 28s behind Loeb in the general classification as an intriguing battle begins to emerge. Nasser has even taken the unorthodox step of removing the air conditioning unit from his Hilux to cut down on the vehicle’s overall weight in a bid for improved power.
The leading drivers also have team-mates in close attendance at the head of the leaderboard with Peugeot’s Carlos Sainz (ESP) third overall and Toyota’s Giniel De Villiers (RSA) sitting fourth. Loeb was tucked in behind De Villiers for the last 70km of today’s special stage because the amount of dust would not let the Frenchman get close enough to the South African to sound the sentinel.
Red Bull KTM factory rider Toby Price of Australia on Tuesday changed up a gear into full Dakar Rally mode to take victory in the second stage of this offroad epic and move into the overall lead. KTM’s 2016 winner finished 3.22 minutes ahead of factory teammate Matthias Walkner of Austria, who got a five minute penalty later on to loose second position to Paolo Goncalves, Xavier De Soultrant was third.
“Today was all about speed on a lot of fast roads. I got caught up in a bit of dust with the first two riders I caught up with but other than that things went well. It wasn’t a tricky day for navigation but there were a lot of animals on the track. You can’t put a cow on the roadbook so when they’re popping up on you everywhere it becomes a difficult day. But I’m here at the finish line so I can’t complain.” Toby Price
The stage took riders from the Resistencia to San Miguel de Tucuman over 803 km, of which 275 km was the timed special for the day. They are currently traveling west in Argentina and the stage took them almost to the north-south spine of the Andes. On Wednesday they turn north and follow the line of the mountains to San Salvador de Jujuy for another 780 km, including a 364 km timed special that organizers have promised will include difficult navigation.
Much of the first week of the rally is at altitudes above 3500 meters, adding another layer of complexity to this brutal competition. Riders also have to content with extreme variations of temperatures and Tuesday saw temperatures in the high 30s Celsius and 45% humidity as they passed through the difficult Chaco region.
Moto Results Stage 2 Dakar 2017
Resistencia – San Miguel de Tucumán: 275 km timed, 803 km total
1. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 2:37:32 h
2. Paulo Goncalves (POR), Honda, +3:51 min
3. Xavier De Soultrant (FRA), Yamaha, +4:06
4. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, +4:19
5. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Husqvarna, +4:48
Moto Standings Dakar 2017 after 2 of 12 stages
1. Price, 3:07:17 h
2. Goncalves, +2:54
3. Sunderland, +3:23
4. De Soultrant, +3:41 (1 min penalty)
5. Quintanilla, +4:26
Auto Results Dakar 2017 SS2:
1. S. Loeb (FRA) / D. Elena (MCO) Peugeot – 02h 06m 55s
2. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / M. Baumel (FRA) Toyota – 02h 08m 18s
4. C. Sainz (ESP) / L. Cruz (ESP) Peugeot – 02h 09m 13s
5. G. de Villiers (KZA) / D. Von Zitzewitz (GER) Toyota – 02h 09m 14s
5. N. Roma (ESP) / A. Haro (ESP) Toyota – 02h 10m 17s