The first stage of the 2021 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia has been completed. After the partial that joined Yeda with Bisha, which had 277 timed kilometers and 622 of connection (transfer without speed), the Spanish Carlos Sainz began winning in cars and heads the global table with his MINI. The 58-year-old El Matador (father of the Ferrari driver in F1), started the road to try to get his fourth victory that would be the second in a row in the Middle East.
While two Argentines stood out, Kevin Benavides (Honda), who was second in motorcycles; and Pablo Copetti (Yamaha), third in quadricycles.
Sainz recovered after the problems he had in the prologue on Saturday (there and back in Jeda 11 kilometers) where he broke a tire.
With all his experience, the two-time world rally champion (1990 and 1992) and three-time winner of the Dakar Rally (2010, 2018 and 2020), advanced to stay with the initial stage and went on to lead the general classification in cars.
El Matador won today with a time of 3 hours, 5 minutes and 56 seconds. Although he has almost nothing left over: in the general classification he leads only 8/1000 to his teammate, Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel. Third is the Czech Martin Propkop (Benzina).
The two Argentine pairs completed their activity being 18th, Orlando Terranova and Bernardo Graue (MINI); and 33rd, Juan Cruz and Alejandro Yacopini (Toyota).
While the Spanish Cristina Gutiérrez makes history. In one of the divisions, that of light prototypes, she leads the general classification and it is the first time that a woman has been leading a global for 20 years, since the victory of the German Jutta Kleinschmidt, who won the Dakar in 2001.
Australian Toby Price (KTM) was the fastest. It ticked 3 hours, 18 minutes and 26 minutes. In the general standings, he beats by 23 seconds Kevin Benavides from Salta, a member of the official Honda team. The partial podium is completed by the Austrian Matthias Walkner (KTM).
The other two compatriots in the category and both representatives of Yamaha, are Franco Caimi (7th) and Luciano Benavides (9th), Kevin’s brother.
In the giants the Russian team of Kamaz fulfills the victory forecast. Dmitry Sotnikov won with a time of 3 hours, 17 minutes and 50 seconds.
In the general classification he beats Czech Ales Loprais (Instaforex Prague) by 7 minutes and 35 seconds. Third is Anton Shibalov (Kamaz).
Frenchman Alexandre Giroud (Yamaha) got the first stage with 4 hours, 1 minutes and 52 seconds. In the general it takes 3 minutes and 32 seconds to the Chilean Giovanni Enrico (Yamaha). While the Cordoba Pablo Copetti is third with the Yamaha of the MX Devesa team prepared by Oreste Berta SA, the workshop of the legendary Mago de Alta Gracia. This project is in charge of Orestito Berta, son of the historic coach.
The other four Argentines (all with Yamaha) in the specialty are: Manuel Andujar (4th), Nicolás Cavigliasso (5th), Santiago Hansen (10th), and Tobías Carrizo (14th).
In the Brazilian UTV (sandbox type vehicles) Reinaldo Varela (Can-Am) was the reference this Sunday with 3 hours, 43 minutes and 32 seconds. His difference with the American Austin Jones (Can-Am) is only 24/1000. Third is the Chilean Francisco López Contardo (Can-Am).
The three albiceleste participants in the specialty are: Fernando Álvarez Castellano (Can-Am / 14º), Ricardo Torlaschi, who sails the Ecuadorian Sebastián Guayasamín (Polaris / 16º) and the Chaco Juan Manuel Silva does the same with the Spanish Gael Queral (Can -Am / 22º).
Tomorrow the activity will continue with the second stage that will link Bisha with Wadi Ad-Dawasir. It will be 457 kilometers of speed and 685 kilometers of connection. It will be time to cross the first dunes of the race. The challenge will grow in the 43rd edition of the Dakar Rally. (GG) (Infobae)