Follow the Dakar Day 1 action from Jeddah to Bisha right here
Dakar 2021 starts for real today and you can follow the main action of the race right here on Auto’s Dakar Live Ticker. The motorcycles enter the stage first at 07h30 this morning , followed by the quads and then he cars at 09h30 SA time.
Saturday’s short, sharp prologue sees Ricky Brabec on pole position, with the unenviable task of opening the track and navigating in the inaugural 277 km special. Nothing the reigning two wheeler champion has not done before. He will be followed by teammate Joan Barreda, KTM rookie Daniel Sanders and former multiple South African champion, Botswana’s Ross Branch in the perfect starting slot ob his Yamaha factory debut.
The cars will see Nasser Al-Attiyah’s Hilux leading prologue surprise Brian Baragwanath away, with some of the big hitters well back in the field. That should make for an intriguing day in the Arabian desert. Today’s 277 km special from Jeddah to Bisha has it all, from tracks to sand dunes and tricky stony sections in what is promised as a real navigational test throughout.
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15h00 Cars: Sainz ultimately beat Peterhansel by just 25 seconds, with Prokop third from Frenchman Mattieu Serradori and local Saudi hero Yazeen Seidan in a pair of SA-built Centurys. Al Qassimi was sixth from de Villiers, Nani Roma eighth on the Hunter BRX’s debut Dakar stage and Przygonski. Al Attiyah recovered to challenge for a provisional top ten slot ahead of Variyawa and another Century driven by Brazilian Marcelo Gastaldi, and Lategan and Baragwanath provisionally 13th and 17th.
13h25 Cars: The first cars are home, but the results will change fundamentally as the quickest guys follow, taking advantage of starting further back on a day marred by navigational issues for the frontrunners…
13h00 Quads: Alexander Giroud overhauled Giovanni Enrico and Pablo Copetti to win the Quads,
12h40 Bikes. It seems safe enough to call that Toby Price has won the bike race for KTM from Kevin Benavides’ Honda and KTM men Matthias Walkner and Sam Sunderland, who started 18th and 26th respectively They had the advantage of following their hapless rivals’ tracks to help find the way. The same went for Lorenzo Santolino on a Sherco, Husqvarna man Xavier de Soultrait and Franco Caimi’s Yamaha, all of whom started outside, but ended up well within the top ten. in fifth, sixth and seventh. Ross Branch is provisionally fifteenth
12h30 Cars: Taking some time to analyse the timing, it appears that Carlos Sainz is the de facto Dakar leader at this stage. He started 28th and leads Peterhansel, Zala, Prokop, de Villiers and Qassimi. Al Attiyah appears to be carrying a problem and has lost more time, but still appears to remain in the top ten
11h46 Bikes: The first bikes are home and while it appears Toby Price has won a dramatic first day, it will be a while before the real order becomes apparent. Kevin Benavides is provisionally ( and unlikely to remain) second with Short, Branch, Sanders Barreda and Brabec all likely to plummet down the order as more machines cross the day’s finish line.
11h45 Cars: Provisionally, Peterhansel leads Zala, Prokop, Al Qassimi and de Villiers at WP3
11h40 Cars: Of the other South African crews, Shameer Variyawa has had an excellent first sector to move up from 26th to 13th while Brian Baragwanath plummeted to 24th from second and Henk Lategan to 26th from sixth in that dramatic opening stretch
11h33 Cars: Lithuanian Viadotas Zala was the surprise car leader in his Mini 4×4 after 71 km of racing this morning. The man who started 14th leads 19th starter Stephane Peterhansel’s Mini buggy, Sheikh Al Qassimi’s Peugeot, Martin Prokop’s Ford and Jakub Przygonski’s Toyota. Giniel de Villiers lost 3 minutes to drop back in the previous sector and sat seventh ahead of pole man Attiyah. As with the bikes, it is best to ignore the latest waypoints as the order on the road is not quite the same as how the rankings will pan out at those points…
11h30 Opinion: Has Dakar taken too big a step straight into its new navigation system, or are the crews just not used to it yet? Both the car and bike order was comprehensively shaken up when first competitors on the road got lost en masse and it seems there are several others struggling to find the right track. One thing is for sure, patience on the Prologue will pay off on the first day as all of the top qualifiers in both disciplines have suffered today – ML
11h15 Bikes: With most machines past the 177 km mark, Price leads Soultrait, Sunderland, Kevin and Luciano Benavides and Walkner. The overnight leaders continue to chase well behind after a disastrous first sector this morning.
10h55 Cars: it appears that the first section has also played havoc on the car frontrunners as Giniel de Villiers is provisionally fastest through WP1 after starting 18th. He led 14th place starter Stephane Peterhansel’s Mini at WP1 ahead of Sheikh al Qassimi’s Peugeot, which started ninth and Orlando Terranova. Pole man Attiyah dropped to seventh, second man away Baragwanath to twelfth and third starter Al Rajhi to eighth. Henk Lategan lost 8 minutes andS Sebastien Loeb 14.
10h30 Quads: The quads are well into the stage as Giovanni Enrico leads Tomas Kubenia and Nicolas Cavigliasso at 92 km
10h20 Bikes: Toby Price has taken charge up front at WP5 ahead of Soultrait and the brothers Benavides
10h15 Cars: Nasser Al Attiyah was the first car to power through WP1, but it is Mini man Orlando Terranova who was quickest of the first few cars through, three seconds ahead of Jakub Przygonski’s Toyota Attiyah, Al Rajhi and Baragwanath 5 minutes off the pace. It appears like the bikes, among the top ten cars are having trouble finding their way with rookie Lategan among those out of place on the map….
10h00 Bikes: With over 50 machines through WP3 at 93 km, there is now semblance of order up front as the masters who took it easy on the Prologue, have ataken advantage of their favourable road positions further back to take control up front. Ninetenth starter Xavier de Soultrait’s Husqvarna now leads double winner Toby Price’s KTM, which set off ninth, by a minute, with Luciano Benavides going from 15th to third on his Husqvarna and 26th starter Sam Sunderland fourth on his KTM. Pole man Brabec was 44th at the time of writing, second starter Barreda was 46th, third man Sanders 34th and fourth away this morning, Ross Branch sat 26th. Those four and a few others have now passed the 177 km WP4 and have 100 km to run to the finish of Day 1. We await heri comments with interest…
09h50 Cars: The leading cars are in the stage. With dedicated navigators and bike tracks to follow, their task of finding the way should be considerably simpler a task…
09h00 Bikes: It’s chaos out there as the leaderboard and order yo-yos wildly with most of the frontrunners recovering from being lost in the first sector of Dakar 2021. This appears to be playing into the hands of Dakar masters the likes Xavier Soultrait riding a privateer Husqvarna this year, Yamaha man Franco Caimi and Lorenzo Santolino on a Sherco, the actual top three, as well as Mattias Walkner and Adrien van Beveren, who took it easy on yesterday’s prologue and started well down….
08h45 Bikes: Following the race a checkpoint back shows the real order as Franco Caimi ‘s Yamaha leads Lorenzo Santolino on a Sherco and Skyler Howes’s privateer KTM at WP1. Overnight leaders Branch, Sanders, Barreda and Brabec lost 2, 6, 8 and 12 minutes respectively finding their way in the first sector…
08h:35 Bikes: Ross Branch now provisionally leads Barreda by 5 and Brabec by 8 minutes at WP2, while Yamaha men Franco Caimi and Skyker Howes topped the pack at WP1 with Branch, Barreda and Brabec tumbling down the order as the rest of field not bothered by navigational dramas passes through. Tracking today’s stage is likely to be impossible thanks to the leaders being delayed. Expect a surprise bike winner today!
08h30 Bikes: Now it appears Short has wrong slotted as Branch, Brabec and Barreda head toward WP2…
08h20 Bikes: There’s Drama already at the Dakar! Our assumption of navigation issues appears on the mark as Andrew Short has come out of nowhere to provisionally lead Yamaha teammate Ross Branch at WP1 by over 2 minutes. Sanders has lost our minutes, Barreda eight and first man away Brabec a massive 12 minutes at WP1
08h05 Bikes: It seems there is already a navigational; challenge with satellite tracking showing the top riders taking different routes leading to the first checkpoint. Brabec, Branch Barreda and Sanders appear to have joined forces and are riding together.
07h35 Bikes: Defending bike champion gets Dakar 2021 on the road as he blasts away on his Honda