After Monday’s quick taste of the dunes, things got serious on stage two of the 2019 Dakar Rally with a race route of 350 kilometres laid out for the competitors. The challenging route created drama all the way as former winners were caught out by the shifting sands and newcomers pounced to take advantage of any slip ups.
In an unusual twist it was the cars that led off the day with stage one winners Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) and co-driver Mathieu Baumel (FRA) opening the road in their Toyota Hilux. Al-Attiyah used all of his sand racing experience to guide the pack through the dunes. After suffering a puncture, the Qatari was caught by X-raid MINI JCW Team members Carlos Sainz (ESP) and co-driver Lucas Cruz (ESP). The Toyota and Mini rivals can both reflect on a steady day’s work.
The big winners in the car category on the first ‘proper’ stage of this year’s Dakar were Sébastien Loeb (FRA) and co-driver Daniel Elena (MON). Loeb gunned his Peugeot 3008DKR over the dunes to record the 11th Dakar stage win of his illustrious offroad career. The Frenchman may be a privateer entry in this edition of the world’s toughest race, but on today’s evidence he has what it takes to run with the best supported teams in the bivouac.
There was great evidence of esprit de corps out on today’s stage as 13-time winner Stéphane Peterhansel got stuck in the dunes at the 109km point of the special stage. Peterhansel’s fellow MINI John Cooper Works Buggy driver Cyril Despres (FRA) pulled over and gave his team-mate a tow – sacrificing his own chance of a stage win. The spirit of the Dakar is alive and well in Peru!
“Without Cyril’s help we would still be there now and not here at the finish line.” – Stéphane Peterhansel
Fourth place on the second stage was enough to elevate the Toyota Hilux crew of Giniel de Villiers (ZAF) and co-driver Dirk Von Zitzewitz (DEU) to top spot in the car race in the early rankings.
Steve Riley and Trev Hanks have jumped up to 63rd on the road after stage 2 in their Holden Ute. Riley has reported that they received a 20 minute penalty for missing a waypoint on Stage 1.
There was a pulsating battle in the bike race from Pisco to San Juan de Marcona. Honda rider Ricky Brabec (USA) led the stage by a whisker from defending champion Matthias Walkner (AUT) throughout the day, but in the final kilometres the KTM rider got his nose in front. Walkner’s final margin of victory on the 342-kilometre stage over the dunes was 22 seconds from Brabec.
“I don’t know if I made the right decision to push too much, but in the end it’s always good to have a stage win.” – Matthias Walkner
Walkner’s Red Bull KTM Factory team-mates Toby Price (AUS) and Sam Sunderland (GBR) also enjoyed productive days in the sand, finishing the stage fourth and sixth respectively.
Walkner is now the best placed of this trio of former champions in the overall standings. The Austrian biker is second in the general classification, 91 seconds behind current race leader Joan Barreda (ESP).
“Stage 2 was long, 342 kilometres on my wrist was really tough. It didn’t help that I got stuck in a dune around the 50-kilometre mark and had to pull the bike out and turn around. That hurt my wrist a little more but I managed to live with it for the rest of the stage, even though it was really bumpy after the cars had been through. All in all, I’m pretty happy with my time and looking forward to tomorrow.” – Toby Price via facebook
There’s another bumper day of racing due tomorrow at the 2019 Dakar Rally. In addition to a 467-kilometre liaison route there will be 331 kilometres raced against the clock on Wednesday. As the Dakar convoy moves from San Juan de Marcona to Arequipa they’ll discover the dunes of Acari, a region as yet unvisited by the rally.
2019 Dakar Rally Car Race Top 5 (after two stages of 10)
1. Giniel de Villiers (ZAF)/Dirk Von Zitzewitz (DEU) Toyota 04h32m45s
2. Bernhard Ten Brinke (NDL)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) Toyota +28s
3. Nani Roma (ESP)/Alex Haro Bravo (ESP) Mini Rally +42s
4. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)/Timo Gottschalk (DEU) Mini Rally +50s
5. Sébastien Loeb (FRA)/Daniel Elena (MON) Peugeot +01m56s
63. Steve Riley (AUS) / Trev Hanks (AUS) Holden Australia + 03H 03′ 53”
2019 Dakar Rally Bike Race Top 5 (after two stages of 10)
1. Joan Barreda (ESP) Honda 04h23m14s
2. Matthias Walkner (AUT) KTM +01m31s
3. Ricky Brabec (USA) Honda +01m33s
4. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI) Husqvarna +03m17s
5. Toby Price (AUS) KTM +04m33s
28. Rod Faggotter (AUS) Yamaha + 00H 42′ 59”
103. Ben Young (AUS) KTM + 03H 02′ 01”
116. James Ferguson (AUS) KTM + 03H 47′ 54”
2019 Dakar Rally Truck Race Top 5 (after two stages of 10)
1. Eduard Nikolaev (RUS) Kamaz 04h56m56s
2. Gerard De Rooy (NDL) Iveco +04m23s
3. Federico Villagra (ARG) Iveco +07m23s
4. Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS) Kamaz +09m01s
5. Ton Van Genugten (NDL) Iveco +10m35s
2019 Dakar Rally SxS/UTV Race Top 5 (after two stages of 10)
1. Reinaldo Varela (BRA) Can-Am 05h21m19s
2. Chaleco Lopez (CHI) Can-Am +01m08s
3. Sergei Kariakin (RUS) BRP +06m35s
4. Gerard Farres Guell (ESP) Can-Am +06m35s
5. Rodrigo Javier Moreno Piazzoli (CHI) Can-Am +10m20s
2019 Dakar Rally Quad Race Top 5 (after two stages of 10)
1. Nicolas Cavigliasso (ARG) Yamaha 04h22m10s
2. Gustavo Gallego (ARG) Yamaha +21m14s
3. Alexandre Giroud (FRA) Yamaha +25m02s
4. Tomas Kubiena (CZE) Ibos +30m44s
5. Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli (ARG) Yamaha +31m36s
23. John Maragozidis (AUS) Yamaha + 03H 51′ 36”