Dakar Shakedown

Dakar 2021 starts with the Prologue today. Auto brings you the action as it happens

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Against all odds, Dakar 2021 came under starters orders earlier today. 270 cars, bikes, truck and other contraptions are hitting the road in anger for the Prologue to determine their starting order for Sunday’s opening stage..

It’s all systems go for Dakar 2021

Sixteen quads were first away at 10h55 SA time, before 103 motorcycles came under starter’s orders at 11h18. Then the first of the 66 cars will start at 13h33.. A strong field of 57 ’Light Vehicles’, as Dakar now refers to the Side by Sides, follow from 12:56, before the 44 Trucks start at 14:13.

Today’s Prologue is not part of the race, the 25 km stage is purely to set the starting order for Sunday’s opening stage. The Auto Live Ticker will still report the action as it happens right here this afternoon, before the story is converted to a race report and published on Motorsport Media later.

Follow the action as it happens right here, every day

That will happen every day through to the finish of Dakar 2021 back in Jeddah on Friday 15 January.


(Latest updates posted on top, reload page manually for latest updates)

12:45 Cars: Brian Baragwanath and Taye Perry have sensationally moved into seconds overall. That makes it seven South African cars in the top eight. Al Attiya’s Toyota will start ahead of Baragwanath’s Century, Al Rajhi, Przygonski, and Ten Brinke’s Toyotas and Terranova the interloper’s Mini, Lategan and Serradori!

14:15 Cars: Rookie Henk Lategan caused a ripple in the Dakar pond when he came home provisional sixth to make it a Toyota 1-2-3-4-6. Shameer Variyawa took a more cautious approach to 21st.

13h20 Cars: With the big guns all through the Prologue, it appears that Nasser Al Attiyah will start Dakar in pole position ahead of a Toyota 1-2-3-4 rout on Sunday. Attiyah’s factory machine is provisionally ahead of Yazeen Al Rajhi, Jakub Przygonski, and Bernhard Ten Brinke, with Orlando Terranova’s 4×4 best of the Minis. Next Up it’s more good news with Mattieu Serradori’s SA-built Century Corvettes ahead of Sheikh Al Qassimi’s Peugeot and Sebastien Loeb in the Hunter. Of course there could still be a surprise, but the Minis of Stephane Peterhansel tenth and Carlos Sainz 14th and Giniel de Villiers in 12th are set for a dusty start on Sunday…

12:15 Cars: Unlike the bikes and quads, the cars run in seeded order starting with Carlos Sainz, followed by Al Attiyah, Peterhansel. Al Rajhi, de Villiers, Loeb and the rest at 3-minute intervals…

12h05 Bikes: The bikes are done with the Prologue. Defending champion Ricky Brabec made his last off road position count as he went fastest by six seconds from Honda teammate Joan Barreda Bort, with rookie Daniel Short’s KTM and Botswana’s Ross Branch a splendid fourth on his Dakar factory debut for Yamaha. Hero rider Sebastian Bühler was a fine fifth for Hero from Andrew Short’s Husqvarna, Kevin Benavides on another Honda, Pablo Quintanilla’s Husqvarna, Toby Price’s KTM and Joaquim Oliveira on another Hero.

11h40 Bikes: Ross Branch has finished the Prologue. He’s provisionally third but there are still a few big hitters to bat…

11h30 Bikes: The leading bikes are entering the Prologue. So far Joan Barreda Bort is quickest on the Honda,…

11h05 Bikes: The bikes are in the stage. Kalahari Madala James Alexander is home and dry – he was a provisional 55th of the 64 machines to have competed the loop on his Yamaha.

11h00 Bikes: In an important change this year in the constant quest to make the rally even safer, the amount of tyres each biker can use is limited to to six for the entire rally. The 36 best bikers will have to ride more conservatively to make the almost 5000 km without a tyre penalty. Airbag vests are also mandatory for bike and quad riders from this year.

10h55 Quads: Alexandre Giroud will start first of the quads when Dakar gets under way on Sunday. The Frenchman was quickest in Saturday’s prologue ahead of Manuel Andujar and Kamil Wisniewski, who will follow him away in the morning.

09h00 Quads: The first machine was due to set off at 10h55, with Bolivian quad rider Martinez set to get Dakar 2021 underway aboard his Can Am. The quads and bikes run in reverse order today with the top seeded competitors due to set off last in each category.

Click here for today’s race report…

See how getting the 2020 show on the road stacks up in the Dakar Drama Top 10!

Catch up with the full 2021 preview here:

Also catch a little more Dakar history here:

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