The 35th edition of the Dakar rally got underway on Sunday for the sixth consecutive staging in South America.
Day one saw the competitors tackle 809 kilometres from Rosario to San Luis in Argentina, of which the special stage covered 180 kilometres.
Spain’s Juan Barreda won the first stage in the motorbike category to hand the Honda factory team the ideal start in their second straight appearance following a 24-year absence.
Marc Coma of Spain was second at 37 seconds for KTM while defending champion Cyril Despres of France was third at one minute and 40 seconds for his new Yamaha team.
Portugal’s Carlos Sousa maintained his consistency in the event by taking the stage win in the car category. He has finished the previous nine editions in the top seven of the overall classifications and this was his sixth stage win.
Orlando Terranova of Argentina was second on the day, 11 seconds off the pace.
Among the main title contenders defending champion Stephane Peterhansel of France made a sluggish start and finished sixth at four minutes 20 seconds.
Qatar’s Nasser Al Attiyah was third at 47 seconds while Carlos Sainz
of Spain was fifth at just over four minutes.
Stage two stays in Argentina and sees the competitors make their way over 724 kilometres from San Luis to San Rafael which features a special timed stage of 359 kilometres.