Courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool
Dakar Rally 2017 underway with Nasser Al-Attiyah clinching the stage before his car catches fire.
318 vehicles took to the start line for today’s 454km route from Asuncion in Paraguay to Resistencia in Argentina with a special 39km timed prologue on Paraguayan soil.
With the starting order for tomorrow up for grabs, the drivers and riders had to navigate a narrow tricky circuit with broken terrain and sharp 90 degree turns which made for an exciting morning with mistakes inevitable.
Two-time winner Nasser Al-Attiyah had an eventful start to his campaign. After storming around the circuit in little over 25 minutes to take first place, smoke filled the air around the finish line as he came to a holt shortly afterwards and had to be toed by teammate Giniel de Villiers 30km to the nearest bivouac. He said afterwards: “I smelled smoke and fire in the last 10 kilometres!”
Carlos Sainz leads the Peugeot contingent in fourth with Sebastien Loeb in sixth and defending champion Stephane Peterhansel in 12th with Loeb saying afterwards, “it’s not time to make a move yet.”
The outsiders stole the show on the prologue with a confident Xavier de Soultrait taking the honours in front of Joan Pedrero and Ricky Brabec before declaring his goal is to win the Dakar this year.
His time of 28.20 was too hot to handle and he will set off first tomorrow bidding to win his first full stage. Last year’s winner Toby Price was one minute and 25 seconds back in 17th on his KTM.
Brazilian Marcelo Medeiros won a Dakar stage for the first time as he comfortably saw off the rest of the field on his Yamaha quad bike. Home favourite Nelson Sanabria gave the crowd something to cheer about as he completed the top three, just behind Gaston Gonzalez, while two-time winner Ignacio Casale is back in tenth.
The trucks are still in the process of completing the Stage. Check back later for further information.
Race footage available for download, daily show on Red Bull TV and more – check out our extensive coverage of the Dakar 2017 HERE.