Dakar Rally underway

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Dakar Rally underway

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The 34th edition of the Dakar Rally got underway in Lima, Peru on Saturday.

The first stage of this gruelling endurance rally saw the 459 drivers and teams tackle 250 kilometres of link section from Lima to Pisco followed by a 13 kilometre special around the coastal city.

In total the competitors will tackle 8 500 kilometres of roads, tracks and dunes.

Reigning motorcycle champion Cyril Despres will be looking to win his fifth title while fellow Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel will be hopping he can bag a record extending 11th title – a fifth in the car category after starting his Dakar career with 6 titles in the bike class.

Although former world rally champion and 2011 Dakar winner Carlos Sainz of Spain will do his best to stop Peterhansel completing his record breaking mission.

After a relatively easy day one Chile’s Francesco Lopez set the mark in the bike category with Despres coming home 5th, 13 seconds behind. Dutch Yamaha rider Frans Verhoeven was second one second adrift of Lopez.

While Sainz won stage one in the cars in his Buggy. ‘El Matador’ was eight seconds clear of Argentine Toyota driver Lucio Alvarez in second place. Peterhansel started the race with an eighth place finish 34 seconds off the pace.