Dakar 2019: Day 1 dawns

Day one of the 2019 Dakar Rally has dawned in Lima, Peru with a short 84km ahead of riders set to determine the pattern for 10 days racing in the Pervian sand dunes.

 

541 competitors and 334 vehicles —137 motorbikes, 26 quads, 130 cars (including 30 SxS) and 41 trucks are all cleared for today’s start of the 41st edition of the Dakar Rally. It leaves just the small matter of 14 days racing in the Peruvian dunes to contend with…

 

Brabec Honda Dakar 2019 ASO Enduro21 560

 

Day one sets the scene for a sandy couple of weeks for racers at this year’s Dakar. The 84km timed special test forms part of a 331km day in the Lima and Pisco region. Riders set off in reverse order for the traditionally relatively short day one.

As ever the result of day one’s special will determine start order for day two and this is already where the tactics will be playing a part for riders wanting to get the edge on their rivals – who wants to lead out tomorrow’s stage and set the tracks for their rivals to follow?

As 2016 Dakar winner, Toby Price puts it: “I really don’t know what to expect from the race, it’s going to be a hard one to judge and we won’t really know how it plays out until we get out there. It’s going to be tough to pull time on the others if you are starting out front as we all know it’s often easier to follow the tracks in front through the sand.”

 

Toby Price Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Dakar2019 Enduro21 560

 

The reality is the Dakar is long race ready to catch riders out in a blink of an eye. Navigation always plays a vital role in the outcome of the results and though the riders treat the special tests more like motocross than enduro these days, for sure they will be mindful of the motto to finish first, first you must finish.

In all, 334 vehicles will take to the race start today on January 7, facing 5,000 kilometres, including 3,000 of special stage across 10 stages of racing. 

  

Photo Credit: Marcin Kin/Dakar.com
 
 
 
Byline jp ISDE 2018 Enduro21
Jon Pearson
Enduro21 Editor and Bike Tester
jon.pearson@enduro21.com